I have been contemplating the purpose of the imagination. Humans have the capability to imagine something that is not observable by the senses. We can see in our mind something we do not have before us. Children imagine and create all kinds of fantastical adventures. Even adults enjoy a good fanciful movie or literature like Lord of the Rings. The poets, artists, inventors, play wrights, writers, and musicians pull from their imagination and create their great masterpieces.
Where does this desire come from to imagine and be imaginative? What use is there in imagining things beyond nature if there is nothing beyond nature? Is it mere evolutionary escapism?
Can it be that this is a desire of the supernatural coming awake in us to depict things that are not natural but fanciful? Maybe the fanciful is a shadow of the real instead of a grave distortion of the natural. Maybe leprechauns, fairies, elves, dwarves, unicorns, and other mystical creatures of our imagination are thus imagined because we see that something supernatural is at work behind the scenes and artist are trying to capture it and compel the imagination forward to grasp this glimmers of something else. We know these things to be created by human artistic expression, but how can it be that humans can create something so otherworldly if there is no reality beyond the physically natural? Why is the literature of every culture so full of grandiose myths of the gods and modern culture so full of superhero and supernatural power stories?
Why this urge to create something non-existent. We consider people who imagine things that aren’t there lunatics and we lock them up. But we don’t consider artist lunatics that imagine such fantasy. G.K. Chesterton suggest that “we must invoke the most wild and soaring sort of imagination –the imagination that can see what is really there.” He is asserting that imagination is something that aids us in seeing beyond what we experience with our senses to see more of reality and not less.
Maybe some of you have studied the imagination more than I and have some natural theories to suggest as to the necessity and usefulness of imagination and the reason for the creation of mythologies, fantasies, poetry, and other artistic expression stemming from the imagination.