Active Thinking Topic 02 - Imagine That!-Is Imagination a Friend or Enemy?

Monday 22 March 2021, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer -

Venue: Cafe Brunelli, 187 Rundle St · Adelaide (You must buy a drink or something. We are 'renting' the space for 2 hours)

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding

Focus Questions

1. Is imaginative thinking a general talent, or particular to certain areas of life for individuals? What do we actually mean by imagination?

2. Is imagination learned, genetic or both? What is the evidence?

3. What are some other personality traits which (may) go with imaginative talents or habits? (examples of individuals may help. e.g. Elon Musk obviously has a flair for certain kinds of imaginative ideas, but seems to be almost without empathy. But Usula le Guin was a brilliantly imaginative and empathetic science fiction writer).

4. Could long term compatibility between a couple be predicted from some kind of "imagination profile" of each?

5. When is it a handicap to be "too imaginative"? e.g. Think of situations, jobs, relationships. Can decision making be paralysed by too much imagination?

6. Why are large numbers of people at least open to imaginative ideas about their daily lives ('hack' is the trend term), but almost entirely unable to imagine events or predictions on a national or global scale?

7. Research into pure mathematics depends upon imagination of a high order, but most people are likely to understand, say, a Harry Potter book or film as much more imaginative than maths. Why is this? [ref. Dave Whyte (7 April 2020) "Does Time Really Flow? New Clues Come From a Century-Old Approach to Math." Quanta Magazine @ )

8. Does psychiatry or clinical psychology, or even discussion with a thoughtful friend, really help people by enabling them to find personal outcomes which they are unable to imagine alone? If so, why?

9. Large numbers of people, both young and old, seem unable to imagine a life worth living much beyond about 50. Yet increasingly life beyond 50 is becoming half a life in terms of years. What are some reasons and consequences of a failure to imagine a life beyond 50? What can be done about it?

10. How would you go about designing some kind of education program that fostered imagination? (Mission statements in educational institutions love the expression, "foster imagination". What is the history of actual outcomes?)

Extra Reading

Wikipedia (2021) "Imagination" @ 

Kendra Sand (October 15, 2019) "How to Expand Your Imagination in 8 Days". TEDxMileHigh @  [Thor, comment - recommended]

Kendra Sand (September 3, 2019) "What is Imagination? Three Perspectives". TEDxMileHigh @ 

Thor May (2018) "Emergent Systems - an Overview". @  ; [or Chinese translation - 梅天啸(Thor May) - "涌现系统 概述" ; 新兴系统 -- 概述 . @  ]

Remake Learning (January 14, 2014) "Imagination as a 21st Century Skill - Einstein once said imagination is more important than knowledge. It seems he was thinking well beyond his time. But how can schools cultivate a skill like imagination?" Remake Learning @ 

Ker Than ( 4 January 200) "Ageing makes the imagination wither - Memory decline in old age may also mean a less vivid imagination". Nature @  [Thor, comment - This might be a general trend, but it is certainly not true for everyone  ]

Paige G (Apr 20, 2020) "The Mind’s Eye". Medium @  [Thor, comment - this is a really interesting little article]

Dave Whyte (7 April 2020) "Does Time Really Flow? New Clues Come From a Century-Old Approach to Math." Quanta Magazine @ 

Molly Owens (2020) "Compatibility and Myers & Briggs' Personality Types". Truity website @ 

Andrew James Anderson, Kelsey McDermott, Brian Rooks, Kathi L. Heffner, David Dodell-Feder & Feng (20 November 2020) "Decoding individual identity from brain activity elicited in imagining common experiences". Nature @ 

Chris Chatham (May 31, 2007) "The Neuroscience of Imagination". Science Blogs @ 

William Park (14th November 2019) "How dating app algorithms predict romantic desire". BBC @ 

Daniel L. Schacter (November 2012) "Adaptive constructive processes and the future of memory". NCBI @ 

Ryan Weber (26 April 2019) "Percy Grainger’s Cosmopolitan Imagination". Cambridge University Press @ 

Curtis Brown (2016) "Narrow Mental Content". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy @  [Thor, comment - interesting, if you can handle the arguments of a professional philosopher. 'Narrow mental content' roughly equates to our colloquial idea of 'narrow minded' Vs 'open minded'. Imagination is clearly enhanced by an open minded approach to experience ]

Quora (n.d.) "What genes are responsible for imagination?" 10 answers. Quora @  [Thor, comment : Quora answers are personal opinions, ranging from expert to speculation. Often interesting, but treat with care]


Imagine That!-Is Imagination a Friend or Enemy? (c) Thor May 2021 

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