The Way of Dreaming

Imagination is more important than knowledge, Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

-Albert Einstein


In my last post, I outlined The Way of Knowing, or cognition. The second power of the intellect, and the subject of this post, is The Way of Dreaming, commonly known as imagination. In Visionmaking, one way is not superior to the other, despite Einstein's value judgment. They are both held as complimentary faculties, to be stewarded equally.


If cognition is the problem solver, then imagination is the explorer. Imagination is centrally important to Visionmaking because it allows for a different kind of seeing-one that trancends the narrowness and familiarity of convention to explore the vast realm of possibility. This is the terra firma of the artist, scientist, entrepreneur and adventurer. "Imagination is a very high sort of seeing," wrote Emerson.


This capacity to dream has spurred humankind to extend the boundaries of the known world, both outwardly and inwardly. It is the domain of visions, dreams, imagery, metaphor, symbol and stories-what Sir Laurens van der Post termed, "the forgotten language of God."


Author Evelyn Underhill recognized the differentiation between imagination and cognition when she wrote: "...the reasoning powers as such have little initiative. Their province is analytic, not exploratory."


Make no mistake. The Way of Dreaming has its own science, though the forces that govern it may seem as strange to the cognitive frame of reference as quantum theory is to Newtonian physics.


The science of dreaming leaves is constructed through ten domains:


1. Dreams-the guidance that arrives in sleep that provide instruction, premonition and healing.


2. Images-mental representations of people, animals, ideas or things and the ability to render those images visually or orally.


3. Symbols-objects, images or sounds that evoke complex ideas or emotions beyond their plain or superficial interpretation.


4. Creativity-the ability to bring forth meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and interpretations which display originality and initiate change.


5. Possibilities-the exploration of potential that something may manifest, may be true, or may take place.


6. Stories-a narrative, either true or fictitious, that is designed to interest, arouse, amuse or instruct.


7. Myth-a body of stories, beliefs or ideas that belong to a people or culture that tell about the ancestors, heroes or supernatural beings and which explain history, natural phenomenon or human behavior.


8. Ritual-ceremonies, rites or procedures that bridge the spiritual and mundane worlds.


9. Art-aesthetically meaningful expressions that stimulate an emotional, physiological, intellectual or spiritual response.


10. Memories-the ability to recall people, places, events and information that ignite the imagination or cause reflection.


The Ways of Knowing and Dreaming provide the Visionmaker with the intellectual faculties to pursue a path of heart and meaning. They are intertwined and constantly collaborating in an extraordinary dialogue about the conversion of possibilities to outcomes.


© Patrick O’Neill 2010. All rights reserved

Posted on March 19, 2010 and filed under Insight, Original Vision.