Imagination is the source of our creativity, but imagination and creativity are not the same. Imagination is the ability to bring to mind things that are not present to our senses. We can imagine things that exist or things that do not exist at all. If I ask you to think of a dog, your old school, or your bet friend, you can bring to mind mental images that are drawn from real experience.
Normally you don’t think of real experiences as imaginative. More accurately, they are imaginal. If I ask you to think of a red polar bear wearing a suit, you can imagine that too. But now you are bringing to mind something that you haven’t experienced. These sorts of images are possibilities composed in the mind rather than recalled to the mind. They are imaginative. Sometimes we mistake imaginative experiences for real ones. These sorts of experiences are imaginary.
Imagination is the primary gift of human consciousness. In imagination, we can step out of the here and now. We can revisit and review the past. In our imagination, we can anticipate many possible futures. We may not be able to predict the future but by acting on the ideas produced in our imagination, we can help to create it. Our imagination liberates us from our immediate circumstances and holds the constant possibility of transforming the present.
Being creative involves doing something, to call someone creative suggests they are creativity producing something in a deliberate way. People are not creative in the abstract, they are creative in something: in mathematics, in engineering, in writing, in music, in business, in something whatever it might be. Creativity involves putting your imagination to work. In a sense, creativity is applied imagination.
Innovation belongs to creativity and is the process of putting new ideas into practice. Innovation is applied creativity. By definition, innovation is always about introducing something new, or improved, or both and it is usually assumed to be a positive thing. All of our existing ideas have creative possibilities. Insights happen when we make new or unexpected connections.
Creative thinking involves pushing the envelope, looking beyond the boundaries of current frames of references. It happens when you can draw from different areas of intelligence simultaneously. The creative process can operate in many diverse fields of human intelligence, it is about making dynamic connections between things; and involves many different mental functions, combinations of skills, and personal attributes. An astounding fact for us all is that we are surrounded by the products of creative imagination, and yet far too many of us are unaware or unaccepting of our own creative energies and potentialities.
There does seem to be some growing awareness today by teachers, parents, and concerned adults that it is essential that the educational systems and programs that are in place can be developed to enhance the creative imaginations of us all if humankind is to continue to survive and evolve. That being said you can see why imagination is the source of our creativity and it is our responsibility to use it to the best of our ability.
Until the next time, take good care and be well.
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