The side of the building read IMAGINARY FORCES in large orange letters: presumably the name of the company housed within. I wondered what it would be like to work there and to tell people “I work for Imaginary Forces”. I had to imagine that this was a company that worked with creativity in some way: advertising, maybe. ( It turns out that it is a video production company which makes perfect sense). It got me thinking about imaginary forces, which got me thinking about invisible forces and wondering where the difference lay. Some are easy to categorize: gravity is an invisible force, but is easy to prove, while destiny is an imaginary force that exerts a certain influence on one’s life just through belief. But there was a gray area too: what about creativity? Storytelling? Faith? Religion?
What does it mean to be imaginary? There is a slight sense of falseness behind the word. Calling something “imaginary” is an easy way to dismiss something that cannot easily be quantified by objective reality. An imaginary friend is somehow less valid than a real friend. We tell people “You’re imagining things” when they claim to see patterns or details that we don’t see ourselves. Imaginary is somehow equated with Not Real. But is it the same thing?
The definition for Imaginary comes up as:
existing only in the imagination.
“Chris had imaginary conversations with her”
Synonyms: unreal, non-existent, fictional, fictitious, pretend, makebelieve, mythical, fabulous, fanciful
And the definition of Imagination as:
The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
“she’d never been blessed with a vivid imagination”
synonyms: creative power, fancy, vision; More
the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
“technology gives workers the chance to use their imagination”
synonyms: creativity, imaginativeness, creativeness;
the part of the mind that imagines things.
“a girl who existed only in my imagination”
So to have imagination is good, but to belive in the imaginary is fanciful and foolish. Why? And how does one decide what is a useful tool and what is a distraction or waste of attention.