If, indeed, there are two different kinds of imagination (primary process and split brain) with two different neurological foundations in the two social structures, then I expect there are ways to evaluate the kinds of imagination a person displays. And, no doubt, once a particular kind of imagination is established in a particular person, exercises could be created to guide him or her into growing his or her ability to use the form of imagination he or she is less familiar with.
Thirty years ago I studied with John Grinder and his colleagues, becoming a licensed practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). We integrated the insights of language theorist Noam Chomsky, hypnotherapist Milton H. Erickson and family therapist Virginia Santir to be able to understand how exactly people exercise imagination. We explored the exact sequence of senses that people used when processing information or using their imaginations. Specifically, we explored when and how internal senses of feeling, hearing and sight were engaged while either remembering or creating content while integrating old with new experiences.
Sixty of us went through the licensing program in a western Chicago suburb in 1981 and 1982. Learning how exactly people processed information, we learned a lot about ourselves. For example, I discovered that I began almost all imagination strategies by talking to myself, with almost no awareness that I was doing so. Almost all internal auditory experience was occurring outside of my conscious awareness. That was valuable information. Over time, as I became aware of how influential my internal dialog was to my emotional and cognitive experience, I learned to accompany that part of me that speaks. A result is that I feel less alone, less split.
Meditation, nonjudgmental self attention, was integral to that process.
Let’s consider the benefits of understanding that there are two different kinds of imagination. Let’s call them primary process and split brain. Are the two kinds of imagination associated with relatively unique cognitive strategies? For example, does a split brain imagination often begin by talking to the self, exercising internal dialog, with created imagery being integral to the result? Would a primary process thinker rely upon something visual that is remembered (as opposed to something visual that is constructed), with feelings inside the body being integral to conclusions that “connect”? I have no idea. But it would be interesting if the two kinds of imaginations were associated with specific strategies. If so, specifically learning the strategies of the other kind of imagination might result in an individual feeling like he or she has more choices in life. A society engaging in teaching children both forms of imagination might experience far less dissonance.
If, indeed, there are two different kinds of imagination with two different neurological foundations, we have a new way of understanding societal splits. Accompanying the understanding of how these splits occur are strategies individuals can use to integrate the splits. This could result in more peaceful societies. This blog’s new way of understanding how humans evolved is central to what we are discussing here.
Understanding imagination, we understand ourselves.