Imagination isn’t the icing on the cake of human cognition | Aeon Essays - Deepstash
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The World of Imagination

The World of Imagination

‘To me,’ wrote William Blake in 1799, ‘this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination.’ The imagination, he later added, ‘is not a state: it is the human existence itself.’ Blake, a painter as well as a poet, created images that acquire their power not only from a certain naive artistic technique, but because they are striving to transcend it – to convey a vision of the world beyond superficial appearances, which only imagination can reach.


252 reads

A Divine Quality

For the Romantics, imagination was a divine quality. ‘The primary Imagination I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception,’ wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817. It was a powerful faculty that could be put to use, distinct from the mere ‘fancy’ of making up stuff – which all too often, is how imagination is conceived today.


116 reads

Patterns of Neurons

Blake would have been unimpressed by modern scientific efforts to find imagination among the firing patterns of neurons, as if it was just another cognitive function of the brain, like motor control or smell perception. Likewise, he would have scorned the idea, favoured by some cognitive scientists, that imagination is a mere byproduct of more ‘important’ mental functions, evolved for other reasons – in the manner that the cognitive scientist Steven Pinker proposes that music is ‘auditory cheesecake’, piggybacking on basic skills required to process sound.


64 reads

Room for Imagination

In a technological age like ours, is there still room for imagination, mystery, fantasy? If our reality tends to the imagination, can the imagination be reality? Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits? Would you spend a night in an isolated house where, it is said, "it feels"? Imagination, fantasy, mystery, ghosts: mental, social and cultural categories that belong to all societies, none are without them.


55 reads

Questions to Answer

All manifest them in one way or another, each of these categories lives them openly or secretly. The reason is simple and must be found in the very reason of our existence characterized by mystery. The initial question about man remains unanswered: who we are, where we come from, where do we go. It seems logical, therefore, that everything can go back to where it seems we were before.


52 reads

In Search for Answers

No one is able to give an answer, and then ghosts, spirits, presences, spells, fairies, witches, wizards, spells, exorcisms, esotericism, astrology, sataneries of various kinds are born. People in good faith who seek, people in bad faith who answer and deceive. Thoughts and feelings, affections and illusions, hopes and uncertainties are confused and confused. An attempt is made to read the future by digging into the individual and collective unconscious of the present, invoking benign spirits against evil ones.


68 reads

An Irresistible Charm

When at the first light of day the owl stopped its mournful nocturnal song, those places had an irresistible charm in the light of day. At the foot of the mountain, a large valley stretched out as if in musical harmony towards the sea, after having slowly lost altitude and height. The river meandered slowly and majestically, crossing fertile plowed fields in geometric spaces.


66 reads

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius

On the right mount Vesuvius stood out in the company of Monte Somma, on the left the chain of Monte Cerreto blocked the passage towards the Coast. In the background, beyond the spire of the bell tower of Pompeii, the island of Capri could be glimpsed floating glistening in the waters of the Gulf of Castellammare. Everything seemed normal and natural, a song to nature and to the divine creator of that beauty that was reflected in the sky in the early hours of the morning.


50 reads

A Massacre

Yet until a few hours earlier those places had been a massacre of rituals and violence, in the sad and obscene glare of the moonlight. Disheveled and violent women, with long hair and eyes burning like fires, had given themselves to wild dances around the cluster of trees that surrounded the great old house like a protective wall. This stood like an abandoned castle right where a large basin, shaped like a basin, indicated one of the springs of the river.


40 reads

That Large Cottage

That large cottage was nothing more than the sum of many houses built side by side over the years, in an alternation of stairs and terraces, windows and balconies with closed arches. It was shaped like a large piece of shapeless cheese, with many irregular holes, in a succession of empty and empty spaces, like gruyere. Spaces that, in the shape of eyes, shone with intermittently swaying yellow lights. They gave the whole scene something spooky. It was as if from those windows, from those recessed arches and from those protruding balconies, the burning flames of hell swayed within those walls.


41 reads

Flames of Hell

If they were flames of hell, those women who danced wildly and obscene were witches who raped their prey, men tied to trees. A cruel and inhuman music shattered the eardrums of those who had the good fortune to hear it. Barefoot, swaying, intoxicated with hatred and sex, they raised their macabre sand to the sky suddenly turned black by the rushing of the clouds before the eyes of the moon.


39 reads

A Sudden Vortex

A warm wind had risen. It came from the valley, from the distant sea. It came as if to collide with that cold and frozen death from the north, behind Alvano's long neck that dominated from above. A sudden vortex enveloped everything, a whirlwind that mingled with the cries of the witches and that also marked the end of their prey, as in a precise and always known ritual.


34 reads

The "Cloud" of the Net

Then all was silent when the owl let out a long hiss that chilled hearts and made the shadows vanish. A flash behind the mountains had announced the arrival of the sun. In a moment nature fell silent and time stopped. All was calm and ready for good luck and happy sunshine. A young ray of sunshine kissed that house-castle with a hundred holes that looked like a thousand magic eyes at the touch of a thousand fairies' magic wand. I had spent a night of "sabbath" in the valley of the griffin. And now I write it down on the "clouds" of the Net.


37 reads




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