There is a form of suggestion which tends to arouse activities in the imaginative regions of the minds of people. Of course, the imagination plays a part in all manifestations of suggestion, but in this particular form its action is especially apparent. I call this class of phenomena "Induced Imagination."
The term "imagination," you know, means "the power of the mind to create mental images of objects of sense; the power to reconstruct or recombine the materials furnished by experience, memory or fancy; a mental image formed by the faculty of imagination," etc., etc. The word is derived from the English word "image," which in turn has for its root the Latin word "imatari," meaning "to imitate."
The imagination is creative in its nature and works with the plastic material of the mind. The writers usually make a distinction between what is called "imagination proper," on the one hand, and what is called "fancy" on the other.
By "imagination proper" is meant the higher forms of activity of the image-creating faculty, such as is manifested in the creation of literature, art, music, philosophical theory, scientific hypothesis, etc. By "fancy" Is meant the lighter forms of the manifestation of the image-creating faculty, such as the ideal fancies and day-dreams of people; the arbitrary and capricious imaginings; fantasy, etc, "Imagination proper" may be considered as a positive phase, and "fancy" as the negative phase, of the image-creating faculty.
Imagination in its positive phase is a most important faculty of the human being. It lies at the basis of active mental manifestations. One must form a mental image of a thing before he can manifest it in objective form. It is distinctly creative in its nature, and really forms the mould in which deeds and actions are cast—it forms the architect's plan, which we use to build our life of action and deeds.
And, mind you this, it is the faculty used in "Visualization," which is spoken of in other chapters. Positive imagination is very far from being the fanciful, capricious, light, whimsical thing that many suppose it to be—It is one of the most positive manifestations of the mind.
Not only does it precede, and is necessary to, the performance of objective acts, and the producing of material things—but it is also the faculty by which we impress our mental-images upon the minds of others by mentative induction, and by the uses of desire and will.
Positive imagination is the mother of "ideas." An "idea" is but "an image formed in the mind"; and the imagination is the faculty in which the "image" (or "idea") is formed. And in proportion to the activity of the imagination, so is the strength of the image or idea. And as is the strength of the image or idea, so is the degree of its power to impress itself upon the minds of others. So you see, imagination, in its positive phase is a strong, real thing. But it is largely with its negative phase that we shall have to deal with here.
You know that your negative imagination, or fancy, may be aroused by outward persons or things. You hear a piece of music, and before you know it your fancy is running along painting all sorts of pictures in your mind, and inducing all sorts of feelings.
A picture may affect you in the same way. A piece of poetry, or poem, may lift you out of yourself on the wings of fancy. A book may carry you along in a world of fantasy and unreality, until you forget the actual world around you—have you not had this experience! And, more marked than any of the above mentioned cases, is the effect of a perfect stage performance, in which the world and characters of the play take such a hold upon you as to seem reality itself, and you laugh and cry with the characters of the play.
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