Essay on the Creative Imagination

Essay on the Creative Imagination

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Essay on the Creative Imagination by Théodule Ribot

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1900

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Essay on the Creative Imagination

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The constructive imagination is a faculty that in the course of ages has undergone a reduction—or at least, some profound changes. So, for reasons indicated later on, the mythic activity has been taken in this work as the central point of our topic, as the primitive and typical form out of which the[ix] greater number of the others have arisen. The creative power is there shown entirely unconfined, freed from all hindrance, careless of the possible and the impossible; in a pure state, unadulterated by the opposing influence of imitation, of ratiocination, of the knowledge of natural laws and their uniformity.

Book Excerpt

lically.--Nature of this symbolism.--The mystic changes concrete images into symbolic images.--Their obscurity; whence it arises.--Extraordinary abuse of analogy.--Mystic labor on letters, numbers, etc.--Nature and extent of the belief accompanying this form of imagination: it is unconditional and permanent.--The mystic conception of the world a general symbolism.--Mystic imagination in religion and in metaphysics. 221

CHAPTER IV.

THE SCIENTIFIC IMAGINATION.

It is distinguishable into genera and species.--The need for monographs that have not yet appeared.--The imagination in growing sciences--belief is at its maximum; in the organized sciences--the negative rôle of method.--The conjectural phase; proof of its importance.--Abortive and dethroned hypotheses.--The imagination in the processes of verification.--The metaphysician's imagination arises from the same need as the scientist's.--Metaphysics is a rationalized myth.

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