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Useful And Fantastic: Applied Imagination - 2

Val Yule indicates that we regularly use imagination to guide our lives.

The large size of human brains has advantages that outweigh its cost of serious birthing risks for mother and baby. The advantages of learning throughout long years of child development outweigh the costs of the great investment required from parents and community.

These advantages include a potential for imagination and an opportunity to develop the skills to use it, to bring time past and time future into the present, and to be able to communicate ideas. The 'mind's eye' and the 'mind's ear' do not depend on experience in the present, or the limits of space or time. The three gifts of imagination, instinct and reasoning enabled human us to survive, to develop tools and societies, and to be resilient in crises.

Images transmitted from the physical eye are seen as pictures, as if by a camera. But the images in the mind’s eye may be hard to translate into forms that can be thought about, or comunicated to others through pictures, sounds or even words. Infants can operate on pictures in their minds even before they can talk, but for complex mental work on ideas and images, and to comunicate them to others, media are needed.

So we have pictures for the eye, music and language for the ear, and where explicit words and pictures are inadequate, words can be used as symbols and metaphors, using an imaginative jump. With reciprocating imagination, others can understand and interpret those symbols. Even small children do this. As they start to talk, they can use words as symbols and metaphors, not only as direct referents.

‘Frontal lobe functions evolved for comunicative purposes, really, with imagination as a personaly experienced facet of this. We use stories to guide our every action.’ - Russell Gardner (2001).

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