SYNTHETIC IMAGINATION: Through the faculty of synthetic imagination, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed. It is the faculty used most by the inventor, with the exception of he who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.

CREATIVE IMAGINATION: Through the faculty of creative imagination, the finite mind of man has direct communication with Infinite Intelligence. It is the faculty through which ‘hunches’ and ‘inspirations’ are received. It is by this faculty that all basic, or new ideas are handed over to man1.

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich! | Download pdf of entire book
1. In Think and Grow Rich! Chapter 13—The Sixth Sense, Napoleon Hill tells us: “I do not understand the method by which this principle is operated.”
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Two forms of imagination: creative and synthetic

Think and Grow Rich!

You have to understand that there are dimensions. In the dimension we call the world2, a person needs logic. He needs it badly. He needs to be able to analyze and take apart things and put them back together again. He needs to spot flaws in reasoning and multiple deceptions. He needs to recognize formal arguments and trace them all the way through from assumptions to conclusions. But in the dimension where creative power operates3, where things happen that most certainly impact this world, all bets are off. He needs to understand and experience and launch a kind of vast freedom for his own imagination that takes him entirely out of the realm of being a normal person, a foolish and provincial “realist,” a mechanically thinking human. He has to go light-years past that. He has to stop pretending he is some kind of scientist. In other words, he has to stop burying his own power. Two dimensions, two capabilities.

Jon Rappoport, The Magician Awakes, cited in The Space, the Magician, and the Man of Science, also by Jon Rappoport
2. This is what I call mundane world.
3. I call this primal world.

The imagination is to the possible as perception is to the actual.


Pen poised, I sit to attention, in my suit, on the edge of my imagination, prepared for the beautiful line to arrive. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not — either way I am powerless to influence the outcome. So often we stand bereft before our ingenuity, with nothing to show for our efforts. Yet at other times we are ushered in.

Once inside the imagination all manner of inexplicable things occur. Time gets loopy, the past presses itself against the present, and the future pours out its secrets. Suddenly words behave in ways they shouldn’t, but wonderfully do, our pulse quickens, yummy butterflies explode in our tummies and songwriting becomes a collision between the pragmatic and the completely gaga — transcendental, outrageously religious, bananas — and then God appears, there He is, with all His cross-dressing Angels and demons and other things, I don’t even know what, spirits muttering unspeakable things, and chubby, pink muses tumbling about, and child-small shapes with outstretched arms, calling, instructing, and the beautiful line begins to take shape, gently emerging — there it is! — falling lovely from the end of your pen.

Source: Nick Cave, excerpted from his response to the question “What’s it like to write a song?” on The Red Hand Files website | View his response in its entirety

Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.

Jamie Paolinetti, retired professional bike racer, Trickster writer and director, and artistic director at the Atwater Playhouse, Los Angeles

Interviewer: Do you consider yourself a great guitarist?

Frank Zappa: Well, I’m specialised. What I do on the guitar has very little to do with what other people do on a guitar. Most of the other guitar solos that you hear on stage have been practised over and over and over again. They go out there and they play the same one every night and it’s really just spotless. My theory is this: I have a basic knowledge of the mechanical operation of the instrument and I’ve got an imagination. And when the time comes up in the song to play a solo, it’s me against the laws of nature. I don’t know what I’m gonna play or what I’m gonna do. I know roughly how long I have to do it, and it’s a game where you have a piece of time and you get to decorate it, and depending on how intuitive the rhythm section is that’s backing you up, you can do things that are literally impossible to imagine sitting here. But you can see them performed before your very eyes in a live performance situation.

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To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.

Albert Einstein

What we need is a theory of psychology which tells us where new ideas come from and a theory of society which tells us when new ideas are likely to have social effect and delineates the mechanisms through which that effect operates. As far as I know we do not have either of these theories.

William L. Benzon, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, in At the Edge of the Modern, or Why is Prospero Shakespeare’s Greatest Creation? (pdf; 23pp), Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 21(3), January 2009

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.

George Bernard Shaw

If we treat the imagination as merely a faculty of the mind, then we will miss the dynamic action-oriented aspect: it is part of the organism’s pragmatic attempt to get maximum grip on its changing environment.

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, cited by Martin Weigel, Chief Strategy Officer, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, in Fighting The Astro-Turfing Of Culture, The Gravity Well Of Banality, And The Stifling Grip Of Pre-Packaged Thinking

It is only the imagination that can change the heart of humanity and lift the soul of the world beyond its many attachments. Our capacity to embrace possibility is linked to our ability to imagine something other than what is before us.

Kathy Beasley, Imagination Brings Possibilities to Life, on Unity website

My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.

Nikola Tesla, via Higher Perspective
Read more about the radio metaphor

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Albert Einstein

Imagination lets a person know what could exist but doesn’t now exist. Imagination lets a person know what could be invented. Imagination lets a person know that, despite claims to the contrary, the future is open and unwritten. Imagination lets a person know that he can think thoughts that have never been thought before. The journey of individual liberation is, therefore, much more than discovering what already exists in one’s own mind.

The individual is not the group, by Jon Rappoport

Imagination is not, as it is sometimes conceived, the capacity to conjure the unreal, but, for the first time, to see the real — the real that is, for reasons of deeply ingrained habit, no longer present to us.

It is not a means of placing something else between us and the world, but of removing the accretions that prevent us from that world’s fuller realisation.

To see is not just to register sense-data, but to see ‘into’ the life of what is seen; and ‘through’ it to the greater picture that lies beyond it, is implicit in it, and make sense of it in terms of the totality of experience.

Iain McGilchrist

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge. […] At times, I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.

Albert Einstein | Cited in The Neuroscience of Creativity and Insight

All human accomplishment has the same origin, identically. Imagination is a force of nature. Is this not enough to make a person full of ecstasy? Imagination, imagination, imagination. It converts to actual. It sustains, it alters, it redeems!

Saul Bellow, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts

Imagination is the seed of power. It is where power starts.

Jon Rappoport, Imagination solutions at the edge of time

Sartre claims that “nothing new can be learned from an imagining that is not already known.” (Sartre, 1948) This is based on the belief that the contents of an imagining contain only knowledge that the subject put into the imagining. Therefore, everything in the imagining is already known and cannot teach the subject anything new.

Cited by Eshaan Agrawal in The Epistemic Value of Imagination, on The Classic Journal website
Jean-Paul Sartre seems to be talking about the synthetic form of imagination

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Creative imagination at work

Imagination — two forms: synthetic and creative

Transcend the mundane, create the new and enrich the world

The truly new comes from nothing

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