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.

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