Is imagination a ubiquitous creator in all thought?


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Is imagination a ubiquitous creator in all thought?

Our Sunday schools have taught us that morality is a rule-following activity. Authority sets the rules and the people follow those rules. The people follow those rules often because they are told that these rules have a universal quality. To those who are guided strictly by religious beliefs these rules come from a supernatural power; to those who are not so inclined these rules come from a natural power.

Empirical research by cognitive scientists informs us that the objectivist philosophical traditions, which support such ideas, are erroneous. This research, conducted with the help of new brain scan technologies, inform us that there is no mind/body dichotomy. Our concepts and categories, plus our mode of cognitive reasoning about them, “are structured by various kinds of imaginative processes”.

The survival of the human species as well as all other animal species depends often upon quick action and correct action dictated by the circumstances. This action depends upon the incorporation of energy with a sound comprehension of the circumstances. This action is dependent upon good mental images. We think, reason, and perceive based upon the images constructed by our imagination.

Our imagination is not only there constructing the images in accordance with our sensual inputs but is there remolding those images rapidly and accurately as they must be to help us recognize what form of action our survival demands. Imagination is there in the initial conceptual images and throughout the cognitive process of creating new possibilities of action that may be require in rapid sequence for survival.

Consciousness, when it appeared on the evolutionary scene, represents the dawn of individual forethought. Consciousness is permeated with images constructed and continually updated with plans and actions.

Image is an often used word but it does have a more technical meaning that we must comprehend. In cognitive science “image” means mental image, which is synonymous with mental image. Current brain scan technology makes it possible for us to “see” these patterns of neural activity, which are called neural pattern or map.

There are both conscious and unconscious images, which can be visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and somatosensory. Soma means body and includes touch, muscularly, temperature, pain, visceral, and vestibular. “Thought is an acceptable word to denote such a flow of images.”

The process of making images is a non ending activity that “never stops while we are awake and it even continues during part of our sleep, when we dream…the images you and I see in our minds are not facsimiles of the particular object, but rather images of the interactions between each of us and an object which engaged our organisms, constructed in neural pattern form according to the organisms design…since you and I are similar enough biologically to construct a similar enough image of the same thing, we can accept without protest the conventional idea that we have formed the picture of some particular thing. But we did not.”

“The contribution of language to the mind was, to say the least, astounding, but its contribution to core consciousness is nowhere to be found…Is it plausible to think that language utterances could be created in individuals who had no sense of self, other, and surroundings?”

For the creationist it is possible to believe that human cognition functions fundamentally in word forms but for those who accept the commonly understood science of natural selection such an idea “does not compute”.

Quotes from The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio