Imagination - 想像力 - Xiǎngxiànglì
Imagination and dreams often share the same vessel,
but they each express a different nature.
Imagination dwells alongside the conscious will
but dreams occupy one's full attention with frightful intensity.
Imagination is delicate, practically ephemeral,
while dreams grip the mind in a false reality.
Imagination builds the bridge, between epiphany and execution.
Mauvaise foi, the territory of dreams, designed to deceieve.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
When dreaming, the experience is often deeply involving. Frightening dreams startle us, bringing the world flooding back in a rush, leaving us sweating and trembling in fear. Pleasurable dreams also possess a distinct residue of yearning desire. Certain dreams act as a form of healing, a way for our mind to find fresh circuits and adjust to new growth. No matter what, these dreams possess no objective reality in the waking world.
Imagination, when thought of as a mental activity, is a way for us to project our thoughts into believable images, to be flashed before our consciousness in contemplation, and then manipulated in a way only possible in the mind's eye. We can use our imagination to play, or to creatively inspire projects in life.
While imagination and dreams are similar activities of the mind, they differ in the level of conscious participation. In dreams, there is a total suspension of rationality and consciousness, largely removing the elements of direction available to us. There is no accepted method or mode of control. By contrast, imagination is a tool through which we can improve our lives, becoming a better, more creative person. By cooperating with our imagination, we can achieve that which we never thought was possible.
Not all dreams are bad, and imagination is not inherently good. The distinction always lies in the individual, and the choices that are made within that individual's mind. The demented, deceitful, or death-obsessed people of the world may be decried as monsters, but they are merely men and women. The monsters, as we seek to label them, also possess the ability to dream and the capacity to imagine. Their fantasies occupy a quite different setting than the one normally thought of by the sane, and yet, the scenes would be readily identifiable to the majority of humanity. Depravity treads between the two worlds, the one of dreams and the one we inhabit, and does not appear entirely distinct to the death-obsessed. Imagination then becomes a tool in realizing that dream. In order to obtain validation, the death-obsessed individual draws upon the dream-world for insidious inspiration. Imagination is the key.
For the rest of us, living naively unaware of the danger, these demented few occupy a place in the past...until we see their handiwork, or until they cross our path.