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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

When Imagination becomes Dangerous

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan

“Let us create man in our own image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” This was an imaginative expression uttered by God in the book of Genesis – 1:26. God imagined before going into creativity. He never went into action before imagining. Indeed God was the father of Imagination and founder of optimism.

According to Wikipedia, Imagination is a cognitive process (mental action) used in mental functioning, it involves psychological imagery which is powerful. Imagination embraces thinking about possibilities which can be in the positive or negative direction. Imagination broadens with exposure and strengthens with frequent relationship to its stimulants. Several research works have come up with what is called the “Mind’s Eye.”

Does the human mind have eyes?
Dear readers lets drink from the oasis of research to quench our thirst for profound understanding.

The human mind is like an invisible world on its own. Each of its activities occurs with brainy inputs and assistance. The brain is part of the visible, tangible world of the body; but the mind is part of the invincible transcendent world of thought, feeling, attitude, belief, and imagination. The brain is the physical organ most associated with the mind and consciousness, but the mind is not confined to the brain.

The mind is said to be the faculty of an entity’s thoughts and consciousness. The mind holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions. The mind cannot do without the inputs of the five sense organs that includes – sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Amongst the 5 senses, sight is the most powerful!

Even though we can visualize things externally using our physical eyes, the human mind can also visualize things using what is called the mind’s eyes. The condition of not being able to internally visualize (the lack of a functional “mind’s eye) imagery is called Aphantasia. It was described by Francis Galton an English psychologist, in the year 1880.

It is very obvious that when we see things and we are wowed or repelled, we often still go back to think about the encounter, and then bring the substance of our understanding into the mind where we awaken the power of imagination and beam it’s ever bright ray on the subject of interest for intensified scrutiny. With the mind’s eye, we internally visualize the subject matter in a three-dimensional perspective, trying to know the possibilities that are associated with what we have.

Alas, just like cataract and glaucoma attacks the physical eye, the mind’s eye is being attacked by agents of fear and pessimism. Since the fall of man, imagination has taken a devastating dimension and is on a highway to the grave. God as the father of imagination and the greatest physician has unaligned Himself from the viruses that have attacked the imaginative capacity of man.

God as the greatest Ophthalmologist has prescribed even the holy spectacles by giving us His holy word, embedded in the Holy Bible so that we can read it and fill both the physical eyes and mind’s eyes with positive possibilities. But yet, many are perishing because they threw away the holy spectacles and are viewing the world from the devil’s glasses, microscopes, telescopes that show nothing but agony, misery and impossibilities.

Imagination becomes dangerous when we become afraid of the future and instead use our mind’s eyes to always imagine negative possibilities and impossibilities. Most nations of the world today are in shambles because they lack the power of positive imagination and possibilities. When we fail to see nothing good, but everything bad about ourselves and our fellow humans then we are trekking towards wars and self-destruction. And at the end, we would have lived an unfulfilled life, while having sown seeds of discord amongst the young.

People become confused and afraid of the future because sometimes, the devil lures us to see the future from an unbelievable distance. Just like he took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and then he said to Jesus, “all these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  - Mathew 4:9

There is nothing wrong with predicting or seeing the future, but the problem comes from who leads you to see the future (the source)? Was it you (by self-power), the devil, or God? If you were lead by yourself and by the devil then you are heading for doom for they are wrong sources of direction. This is because the future is always mightier than the present and it’s in the hands of no man or devil to decide. Your unknown future is in the hands of the all-knowing God.

Immediately you see the mighty future from the wrong source, the wrong source pushes you to cross the bridge before getting to it. Dear readers, that’s a problem. You don’t cross the bridge until you get to it. While being ambitious, stop worrying about the bridge, because the devil and negative imaginations will show you 10,000 reasons why you should either seek an alternative route or stay away from the bridge. The bridge in this context is a challenge to be conquered. Some people bring a fearful future into their lives because of who they listen to; some bring the future rapidly by harvesting unripe fruits and God frowns at such impatience.

It was evident that God created man but never gave him the full ability to create but rather He felt that his basic responsibility was the full ability to control what He created. Imagination and creativity were primitive in man until he ate the forbidden fruit and then he began the first textile and fashion designing industry. “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” – Genesis 3 vs7 

Thus man’s imaginative capacity and ingenuity rapidly came to limelight, but it came at the cost of death because the wrong source (the serpent) showed them the future and encouraged them to cross the bridge before getting to it. I think that the future was to be unveiled later to man; because the actions of controlling were to prepare man for a creative and imaginative lifestyle. However, if the plans of God are of good and not of evil, of prosperity and not of calamity; it would not be out of place to say that God was still preparing man for his imaginative task. But the devil gave a fast alternative and man became imaginative without any teacher. We must be wary of who gives us advice on how to secure our dreams and ambitions.

If your poor imaginative capability makes you keep worrying about the future, then you waste the chunk of energy required to make the present better on uncertainties. According to Dee Staah, “If you have one leg in the past and the other in the future, you will be pissing all over the present. So do it all today because you are not promised tomorrow.” The future should be a source of motivation and not a source of anxiety. Mahatma Gandhi also said, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” Thus, it’s a pity that lots of people spend the present worrying. We worry a lot on what to wear, eat, become; where to go. It doesn’t mean we should not make plans for tomorrow or plan on how to avoid devastating circumstance, but unwarranted anxiety is as a result of negative and destructive imaginations.

Some people can even sit and think about all forms of evil that can happen; they believe that bad events are encoded in the DNA; they are the pessimists of the pessimists. They build lots of obstacles in their imagination, entertain all nature of negativity, and build an armoury of fear. Consequently, the armies of courage are always defeated. Their natural tendencies towards anxiety and worry are unparalleled and are hijacked by dubious beings, and then they wonder of all the evils that can happen as they eat, travel, read, love, school, trade etc. How then can such a person live his full potential? To spend time worrying is a sheer waste of time and energy. Most times, what we worry about may never happen. According to Fulton Oursler, “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves who are the regret for the past and the fear of the future.”

Life is a mystery, fear not about the future because fear is the greatest enemy of man. The bible is the most potent antidote against the fear-filled venoms of the serpent. With God, you cannot be accused nor tormented by the devil. We have about 365 fear-not in the bible. The bible is the holy spectacle of God, see through it. The mind's eyes must be engineered for productivity and not for destructivity; being optimistic and imaginative even though we are imperfect, is living up to the expectations of God. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power (energy and authority) and might. Avoid states of worry and hyper-anxiety because they are not of God, instead, let all your problems be made known to God in prayer and then go about your daily life activities with faith.
Finally, everything worth doing is worth doing well. Every adventure is a risk but always inquire if it is worth the risk? Weight your possibilities and strive to see the lights in dark clouds. If you toss a coin, either head or tail you get. Therefore think big always and leave the chains of destructive imagination under the rain for it to rust away.

1) Holy Bible – The creation, the fall of Man – Genesis, the temptation of Jesus - Mathew
2) Wikipedia.com – Imagination, the mind
3) Sharecare.com – Difference between mind and brain

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