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Types Of Imagination

Although imagination enters every field of human experience, and busies
itself with every line of human interest, yet all its activities can be
classed under two different types. These are (1) reproductive, and (2)
creative imagination.

REPRODUCTIVE IMAGINATION.--Reproductive imagination is the type we use
when we seek to reproduce in our minds the pictures described by others,
or pictures from our own past experience which lack the completeness
and fidelity to make them true memory.

The narration or description of the story book, the history or geography
text; the tale of adventure recounted by traveler or hunter; the account
of a new machine or other invention; fairy tales and myths--these or any
other matter that may be put into words capable of suggesting images to
us are the field for reproductive imagination. In this use of the
imagination our business is to follow and not lead, to copy and not

CREATIVE IMAGINATION.--But we must have leaders, originators--else we
should but imitate each other and the world would be at a standstill.
Indeed, every person, no matter how humble his station or how humdrum
his life, should be in some degree capable of initiative and
originality. Such ability depends in no small measure on the power to
use creative imagination.

Creative imagination takes the images from our own past experience or
those gleaned from the work of others and puts them together in new and
original forms. The inventor, the writer, the mechanic or the artist who
possesses the spirit of creation is not satisfied with mere
reproduction, but seeks to modify, to improve, to originate. True, many
important inventions and discoveries have come by seeming accident, by
being stumbled upon. Yet it holds that the person who thus stumbles upon
the discovery or invention is usually one whose creative imagination is
actively at work seeking to create or discover in his field. The
world's progress as a whole does not come by accident, but by creative
planning. Creative imagination is always found at the van of progress,
whether in the life of an individual or a nation.

Next: Training The Imagination

Previous: The Material Used By Imagination

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