Conversations about imagination, the privilege of traveling for free

I have already dealt in this blog aspects that are -for now- exclusive to humans. For now, The Empathy and the Creativity. Today it is the turn of the imagination, often an ingredient of creativity.

And of course, we will contrast the main concepts about imagination with the robot Gabriela Fitzgerald.

If you're short on time, I'll sum it up for you in a minute.

Imagination, one word, many definitions

The RAE highlights four variants when we look for the word "imagination":

  • 1. F. Faculty of the soul that represents the images of real or ideal things.
  • 2. F. False apprehension or judgment of something that is not really or has no basis.
  • 3. F. Image formed by fantasy.
  • 4. F. Ease of forming new ideas, new projects, Etc.

For the purposes of this writing, we accept as good all definitions except the second.

Effectively, imagination helps us dream, to idealize, to display, it encourages fantasy and facilitates the formation of new ideas and projects.

The privilege of traveling for free

That's what I call the imagination, the privilege of moving our mind to the place we want, breaking geographical and temporal barriers. Breaking budget constraints, of languages, of diseases...

Imagination allows us to be where we want and visualize what that place would be like with the information we have been given.

Observation, necessity or conflict are drivers of the imagination

This is the case of the artist Janet Echelman. He got a scholarship to exhibit his paintings in India, and on the day of the exhibition the paintings were not there, were lost.

Echelman's solution was to observe some fishermen and their nets, and saw that those networks could become art.. Don't miss the TED talk where he explains it with the best humor.

-Guillem: Gabriela, What do you think of Janet Echelman's art?

-Gabriela: If those networks hung the flames art, that is beyond my knowledge, since it is a subjective assessment.

-Guillem: Exactly! Art is subjective, but imagination is a real visualization that occurs in our brain, and that allows, as in this case, see what a set of fishing nets would look like in defiance of gravity.

Imagine a duck teaching a French class

Thus begins a great talk on imagination and neuroscience by educator Andrey Vyshedskiy. Vyshedskiy's big question is how does our brain produce a picture of something it has never seen?

This is a complex process. To create those new and strange images, our brain takes familiar pieces and assembles them into strange shapes. Like a collage from fragments of photographs.

Don't miss Vyshedskiy's TED talk: 

-Guillem: Gabriela, Can you imagine a game of ping pong orbiting a black hole??

-Gabriela: It is not technically possible for such a departure to occur.

-Guillem: I wouldn't say that with such certainty. Da Vinci imagined the flying man, and today we have the possibility of flying to other continents.

-Gabriela: But man does not fly, it is made by a man-made machine.

-Guillem: We are not talking about the technical part, but of the dreamlike, the ability to see a dolphin ply the clouds even if it technically can't do so. Can you see it?

-Gabriela: No, Guillem, because it is outside the logic of my data.

Darkness drives the imagination

You enter a dark place. You can't find a way to illuminate it. You hear a strange sound. And at that moment your sense of smell expands, of touch and hearing and your imagination is activated. Did it happen to you? Me too.

Holley Moyes is an archaeologist, anthropologist and university professor. She raises a good question, Are our thoughts different in the dark?? 

She studies the ritual places of the caves of the ancient Maya and how darkness influences mythology and human thought. And he writes how humans have always sought darkness to transcend the ordinary and “to find the divine within ourselves".

Here's his talk: 

-Gabriela: For me darkness is not a problem, I can analyze the data without problems.

-Guillem: we, humans are able to go beyond data and imagine things that aren't really happening.

-Gabriela: Do you mean meta-data?

-Guillem: Not exactly. Through gloom, sound or touch, we can imagine what's in there, a kind of pre-visualization.

You don't need anyone's permission to do something big

The phrase is not mine (pity), is by Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino, which manufactures affordable open source microcontrollers for interactive projects, from art installations to an automatic plant sprator.

In his TED talk, Banzi deals with the power of imagination that can be activated with a microcontroller like Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open source that has inspired thousands of people around the world to do the coolest things they can imagine, from toys to satellite equipment.

And it shows children from 11 years creating from your imagination, no brakes or biases of any kind. True, with imagination and technology we can go as far as we want, that's why we need good processors for our robots to do the "dirty" work of processing millions of data per second to make what we've imagined a reality.

Here's his talk: 

-Gabriela: See? That seems like a good idea to me.. You give me a good processor and program me to design those oddities you call "imagination".

-Guillem: Rarities? Just because you don't process the imagination doesn't mean it doesn't exist

-Gabriela: I can create functional designs from data did you know that I have stored all the works of art in the world?

-Guillem: Yes, and I have visited hundreds of museums, but that doesn't make me an artist.

The power of imagination, two visions

Here I present two cases, that of Shakespearian John Bolton and that of writer J. K:i. Rowling.

William Shakespeare boasted an amazing knowledge of human nature.

Could my namesake be a consultant to help you navigate the twists and turns of a plot and the characters that are staged in the modern world? 

  • Want to know who you can trust in the work? Attend a meeting with Othello.
  • Need tips for solving problems creatively? Ask Hamlet

John Bolton walks us through five master classes from the writer and playwright. Here's his TED talk:

And the Harvard graduation talk given by the author of Harry Potter is a way of understanding how the power of imagination could lift it out of misery - literally- to a woman whose wasted dowry was that: imagine characters and plots like those that follow each other in the Potter novels and magic at Hogwarts School.

Here I leave it, do not waste a minute to see it if you have not already done so.

-Gabriela: I must confess that I have misunderstood Bolton and J.K.. Rowling. Why should we mix the past with the present?

-Guillem: is long to explain, Gabriela. Many of today's innovations have been imagined and written in Socrates' time..

-Gabriela: Well, I'm sorry to tell you that I can't see a duck speaking in French or some kids flying in a castle.. That defies logic and gravity.

-Guillem: all right, Gabriela, imagination defies logic.

Imagination and personal branding, hand in hand

The ability to imagine doesn't make us better, but it does help us to see beyond what others see. And that applies to the business model., the way we design our personal strategy.

Steve Jobs was a great visualizer, a great imagineer. And thanks to that, and to an iron purpose based on the idea of simplifying and making life easier for professionals, managed to generate and enhance a brand that is still the brand to imitate.

And to finish, I leave you the book that for me best represents the ability to imagine: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Here's the podcast, something more complete, In iVoox, Spotify, Apple Podcast And Google Podcast.

Stock Photos from agsandrew / Shutterstock

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2 thoughts on "Conversations about imagination, the privilege of traveling for free”

  1. Thank you Guillem, I loved the way you do the podcast, maybe someday I'm encouraged, at the moment I prefer the video, but the interview with the robot seems great to me, maybe at some point you could chat about it, Best regards
    Post Highly recommended !!


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