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Now Is a Good Time to Imagine

Posted in Friendly Philosophy

Idea: Make-believe is a worthy use of imagination (unlike worry).

Last time, I offered what I think is one good reason for “shutting down imagination” about the future. But Kendall Walton’s book Mimesis as Make-Believe has shown me how much imagination in the present — imagination about things that you are seeing and hearing now — can be a good thing.

When kids play make-believe, or adults look at a painting, they are using their imaginations about themselves and things around them. They experience themselves and surrounding objects through their senses while also imagining stuff about themselves and those things.

I argued the time before last that your imagination uses the same “parts of your brain” as your senses — so if you want to stop imagining the future, focus those parts of your brain on what you’re actually seeing/hearing/touching in the present. But it would seem there is a kind of imagination (about what is present, rather than future) that is compatible, rather than in conflict, with perception. Looks like we’ll need to talk about the different kinds of imagination later.

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