Certain words in the course of long use gather so many strange connotations that they almost cease to mean anything at all. Such a word is imagination. This word is made to serve all manner of ideas, some of them directly opposed to one another. Fancy, thought, hallucination, suspicion: indeed, so wide is its use and so varied its meanings, the word imagination has no status nor fixed significance.

For example, we ask a man to “use his imagination”, meaning that his present outlook is too restricted and therefore not equal to the task. In the next breath, we tell him that his ideas are “pure imagination”, thereby implying that his ideas are unsound. We speak of a jealous or suspicious person as a “victim of his own imagination”, meaning that his thoughts are untrue. A minute later we pay a man the highest tribute by describing him as a “man of imagination”.

Thus the word imagination has no definite meaning. Even the dictionary gives us no help. It defines imagination as (1) the picturing power or act of the mind, the constructive or creative principle; (2) a phantasm; (3) an irrational notion or belief; (4) planning, plotting or scheming as invo lving mental construction.

I identify the central figure of the Gospels with human imagination, the power which makes the forgiveness of sins, the achievement of our goals, inevitable.

All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. John 1:3

There is only one thing in the world, Imagination, and all our deformations of it.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
Isaiah 53:3

Imagination is the very gateway of reality.

Man”, said Blake, “is either the ark of God or a phantom of the earth and of the water”. “Naturally he is only a natural organ subject to Sense”. “The Eternal Body of Man is The Imagination: that is God Himself, The Divine Body.

Add to your list