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[Xmca-l] Re: Imagination or Fantasy (Vedanta)



Annalisa,
Thank you for responding! I meant “maya”, which you spell as “maayaa”, but perhaps “moha” is better, given the way you define it. Which shows what little I know about Indian philosophies. Still, your analysis is in the same spirit, I think, as what I was getting at regarding imagination and fantasy: Both individuals and groups can engage in fantasy to the point that they get delusional, and the consequences can be catastrophic. Imagination allows us to see things from the perspective of others, fantasy, in the extreme, does not. This is a rule of thumb that I try to apply to my own life, not always successfully. 

In any case, the posts on this mulitfaceted thread are great, yours included. Of course, I would be deluding myself if I think I understood it all, dishonest if I said I did. But I would be delusional to say it doesn’t matter. I liked your example: “See this red balloon, now think of a blue one.” That I can do. Groking all of the posts on this thread has been a struggle, but worth the effort. It’s part of my ontological development, late blooming. By the way, I think the balloon example IS concrete, connecting the material red balloon to a real cognitive event of imagining a blue balloon. A simple, but non-trivial, example of being able to grok the thinking of others. All of the discussion in this thread on the teaching of math attests to the concrete-to-concrete raised at the beginning.

Henry

> On Dec 7, 2015, at 8:08 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> 
> 
> Hi Henry,
> 
> I think that fantasy vs imagination need not be too complex.
> 
> One thing about the Vygotsky quote, is that an imagination need not develop into anything. I can say "imagine a red balloon." Then, "Now change it to blue." is there anything concrete about that?
> 
> But in order to have an imagination of a red balloon, one has to know what a balloon is, and what red is, and then what blue is. And I suppose one would have to know English too to understand me when I say, "imagine this." All this derives from the apparent world we have already perceived in our personal histories, cultures, etc. They have *developed* through our experiences and perceptions.
> 
> I have not heard of the term, "mara" so I can't comment. I know that there is a word for deluded, or infatuation, which is "moha." 
> 
> Then there is "maayaa," which refers to the veiling power of the universe, how things can seem to be something else, like a mirage, or an optical illusion, or the setting sun, but this is in terms of the world, not in terms of a persons who perceive the world, since we can both witness an mirage and witness the same illusion. One could say this veiling power is the same for quantum physics, where it seems to be turtles all the way down!
> 
> But getting back to imagination as a part of the creative process, fantasy it seems to me is also that, a creative process. But the only way to determine the difference between fantasy and imagination can be considered from two vantage points. From the thinker herself, and from the perspective of another person interacting with the thinker, or someone not the thinker who has access to the object of imagination independently, if that is possible.
> 
> But then both could be subject to the fantasy as well, I suppose!
> 
> That's why I was saying the thinker would have to have self-awareness of his or her imagination, *that* it is an imagination, whereas the thinker who fantasizes would lack that self-awareness. Of course I do not mean this as a binary option, but relatively. 
> 
> For an imagination to happen, there has to be already there concepts as "material" for the imagination, and these come from the world. We can't imagine something we do not know, our of a vacuum. Consider our dreams. 
> 
> Consider a horse with a single horn. This can be imagined because I know what a horse is, and I know what a horn is. But if I really believe that there are unicorns, even to the point that I see them in the world, then I would be fantasizing and hallucinating. In that case, I would lack self-awareness to know this is purely my imagination. 
> 
> Horses with one horn are an overlapping of two things, which then make up one thing. The "concretizing" of this could be weaving a tapestry with a unicorn and even making up a myth about unicorns with songs and value systems, but this still doesn't make them real. 
> 
> But they certainly are wonderful imaginary beasts!
> 
> Kind regards,
> 
> Annalisa
>