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    This is an edited version of the Ways of Knowing discussion from 2010.09.30 at

    I was reading the homework reports on imagination.. always some surprises there, and some more expected things .. That's imagination at work. 

    On the one hand there is the perspective "hey,  I don't have imagination" ... on the other --  that imagination is a property of awareness in general.
    An important issue is ... does imagination get in the way, or does it serve as a gateway, or rather, when and how does it do these things?

    Q: Are there other perspectives you were considering?

    There are so many perspectives.  One homework for instance takes two complimentary sides - that (1) imagination is part of all mental perception, and (2) it keeps us from what is "actually going on" by being too powerful.  We can segregate these different ways of knowing by how we define them ... or perhaps they are part of the "machine" of how the organism works .. it is hard to discriminate these two reasons for categorizing our capacities.  Each definition of imagination of course is the perspective of the way particular people think about it and use it.  Like evolutionary biologists explain it in terms of a survival function

    Q: I am curious, Calvino, first of all, what motivated you to choose this topic?

    I chose it because imagination seems like the fertile ground where awareness encounters reality - where the rubber meets the road.  And it may be a global integrative process for all more specialized ways of knowing, and given that this group is Ways of Knowing, it seemed interesting to take that approach

    Q: that would need a little more unpacking... re all specialized ways of knowing... it does seem a kind of base
    Q: do we mean visualization or fantasy?
    Q: I'm still unsure imagination being a way of knowing here. For me imagination is a creative way of sythesising memories etc.

    Q: sound like you are also using imagination as a way of getting at the constructed nature of things?

    Yes.  I think that's a useful perspective too
    I was also interested in how imagination relates to our feeling of having intentions

    Q: intentions?
    Q: I think there can't be an unintentional experience
    Q: I suppose that imagination does factor into decisions, even if unbeknownst to ourselves...

    Yes, like the idea of the "self" using "imagination" for some purpose ....and then it gets kind of dried out, but when it's experienced as unintentional, then it seems more juicy or generative. That dryness might be because only a very small part of cognitive and other activity is conscious,  so to control it with that conscious process, diminishes its potential.  If we don't know where our thoughts come from, then it's called intuition
    By intention, sometimes people mean a sense of agency and of being at choice... while in philosophy it can  refer to the "me-ness" of experienced world, even if there seems no choice involved

    Q: I think imagination in the context of meditation is interesting...for some a tool for others a distraction

    Q: I was thinking, vis a vis imagination, that if you think abouit memory we don't seem to store full "copies" of what happens, like a videotape. it's much more likely that we store hints, and then more or less use those hints to create imagined memories -- which is perhaps why false memories are so compelling

    We're not recording machines - it's more like we "reimagine" the world in a way that basically tries to match what's happening

    Q: nods.  yes I was somehow picturing imagination as a substance that kind of wires things together, the more flexibly the more options are seen as available
    Q: we recreate memories -- imagination concrns the future mainly though?

    Memories supposedly of the past .. are imagined also -- and then people get stuck with their identifications -- Which is interesting -- people may "give up" on re-imagining the past, but not the future.  Like the feeling - it already happened ... I can't change it :)

    Q: I think imagination is the past and the future, really
    Q: ah, imagination is present... using all material, past future...
    Q: ah but that is 'imagination' as a false recreation surely
    Q: You can imagine a past situation, and reimagine it in a different way surely?
    Q: real imagination [imaging] in the moment
    Q: or that is, imagination is present, projections of the past and future

    Q: but the imagination only draws on the past
    Q: Only what you've experienced so far I guess

    But the meaning of the past can change radically

    Q: yes, even things we think are "known" about the past are mostly fictions
    Q: shaped by what?
    Q: imagination
    Q: an imaginary past is a false past then?
    Q: and our own desires?
    Q: well all past is false?
    Q: just a mistake

    Shaped by desires, wishes, and "reality check" insights...I feel there's no valid way to define a "mistake" in any airtight philosophical way.

    Q: if past like future multiple of possibilities past may be modified
    Q: I'm sure we reimagine the past every time we think of it
    Q: highlight some things - suppress others

    Q: Quote:  "What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we ...have forgotten are illusions- Friedrich Nietzsche - "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense"

    Nietzche was digging in fertile ground

    Q: If this is true, if the past is just a story we tell ourselves, what can we learn from the past?

    Q: Isn't truth the dropping of intellectualisms
    Why would we expect our non-intellectual faculties to be any truer?
    Q: yes drop emotional and physical too

    Q: 'illusions' is better than 'mistakes'
    I think that's the same idea, though

    Q: but also what is done ,is done not even god can change it
    Q: is there any 'true' view of ourselves?  We and everything else are always changing

    Illusions and mistakes are both derogatory judgments of experienced reality
    Derogatory - meaning it has a negative connotation that may not be the whole story

    Q: But the 'illusion' judgement might be true

    It is a metaphysical question, is there anything left after all the supposed inaccurate knowing is dropped

    Q: agree - we are working with an assumption of a 'true reality' somewhere
    Q: do we distinguish relative from absolute truth

    Q: I think truth is not about propositions
    Q: propositions are a form of question
    Q: true reality doesnt exist - is non-existential

    We imagine ... that there is a true reality

    Q: like Plato
    Q: well, more 'beliefs' ?
    Q: another truer world beyond our experience
    Q: 'propositional attitudes' -'s a stance in philosophy of mind - just observing changes it
    Q: hidden beliefs, I would 'imagine'...
    Q: changed by our memory of it?

    Propositions are a tacit way to ignore most things about reality and imagine that some of them deserve more importance in a particular moment and context.  Unconscious propositional attitudes - could this be a term for "myths"?

    I was wondering  whether -- and tend to think that -- the group title - Ways of Knowing - indicates a preference for an experiential approach - instead of Types of Knowledge for instance

    Q: it sounds open to me - but I am less and less impressed by conceptual knowledge
    Q: yes  -- what i meant by intellectual

    Q: but we would have to remember it to observe it
    Q: so the only way to change the past is to remember it differently?

    Re-imagining the past ... remembering differently - given the influence it has on us - it could change the quality of the present

    Q: Isn't that called revisionism?
    That would be a derogatory term... why assume they "got it right" the first time?

    Q: Actually, A,  i'd say to forget attachment
    Q: The Ministry of truth

    Q: Suddenly realizing my clinging to a 'true' version of the past

    Imagination can also reveal things  - revelation as E. put it in her report -- new, latent, but also true possibilities not seen before about the past...not so fixed, then ...

    Q: why stay in the past?
    Q: I consider imagination to be very present friend to awareness
    By "past" you mean the fixed story I think
    Q: yes

    Q: I imagine that when we embody here in SL right * here now * it takes a bit of imagination
    Q: think again the past, do a new healthy construction, and the present will change
    Q: live in the present moment and deal with whatever comes up from the past?
    Q: past events are stored in our body too I think
    Q: empathy requires imagination as well
    Q: yes very much so, I agree

    Yes, stored in our body.  if that's true then what we do now with our body can affect the experienced past,

    Q: what our mind does to our body
    And vice versa, given that they are one bodymind, or dreambody

    Q: ah yes - another way of false thinking I cling to :) - mind/body dualism
    Q: change what you store changes body!?
    Q: also is basis of Rolfing
    Q: I'm sure there are things you remember that make you maybe feel sad, and it affects your body and you slump etc

    I've noticed often - my felt sense of the significance of the past is carred in the body of the present by it being held a certain way.  Yoga practitioners and martial artists too may experience the bodymind connection as it affects appraisal of the past as well as the present.

    Q: what of those who use the future to go 'forward'?

    Q: you know about Tolle's 'pain body'?
    Q: It's called muscle memory
    Q: My muscles have amnesia
    Q: ida Rolf has a body integrative priocess that rids one of past that are buried in body

    Theres the ideas of the "subtle bodies" in general
    Q: sits forward to listen

    Q: recognizing the ways in which we imagine our past and even our present, gives us a way to find something prior to that
    Q: nods @M... questioning the fixedness of things

    Q: but should we 'dig up' the past?
    Q: why not?
    Q: it's not that we should dig up the past, it's that we should see the way we construct the past right now
    Q: depends on what you're going to do with it ;-)
    Q: If it's fertile soil

    That is what happens after "dropping".  imagination can break up the fixedness and open the door to somethng more fluid, different, *maybe* more revealing of other aspects of reality...plowing the field

    Q: in a way the past makes us who we are now, we are a sum of our past sort of?
    Q: actually I don't think we're the sum of our past, I think we're much freer than that
    Q: Would definitely agree Hel
    Q: our personal pasts are so little a part of our authentic reality
    Q: I'm not saying that it's fixed

    Hopefully somewhat freer than a simple sum of some past "stuff"

    Q: seeing the construction allows us to work with it... question it....
    Q: I don't mean defining ourselves by our past
    Q: *digging up the past* or *re-reading the past*? the lived past is not found in archaeological digs
    Q: nods
    Q: just what we have experienced so far informs us
    Q: but is good time had

    I think it's important to distinguish practically, between our experienced semi-bondage to past conditions, and the *ideal* that we might somehow be completely free - but actually we're tremendously influenced

    Q: The thing about digging - you never know what you migh find. A treasure or a bunch of worms
    Q: I sometimes think it's better to just deal with what surfaces in the present than uncover things we are not ready to face from the past

    We shouldn't invoke a demon, unless able to handle it

    Q: we can sorta save this past : ))

    Q: It can be interesting to hear next time how this chat changed us
    Q: The reports are probably really important to the discussion also
    Q: interesting voices and inputs, just great

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