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Limits of the imagination

  1. Jan 30, 2012 #1
    Everything that exists, had existed and will ever exist are all contained within the universe...
    (Leave out the parallel universes concept for now)..
    So that means our imagination also exists within the universe....
    I mean with our mind we think and our mind is contained within the universe... So the thoughts which the mind produces must also be the part of the universe...

    The weird part is that the physics laws doesnt work in our imaginations.. I mean that we can imagine a car moving faster than light, we can imagine a drop of water flowing upwards against the gravity and so forth... But we cannot simply say that our imagination is limitless..
    Cause it does have some limits like Da Vinci said

    That quote is quite true.. If you spend some time thinking about it, you will realise it...


    So my question is that
    Is there any laws that governs our imagination?
    Is there any research going on it?
    Does it belong to just the field of Psychology?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2012 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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    Of course the mind exists within the universe; the mind is an emergent property of the brain.
    Imagination is the faculty to generate hypothetical models in order to plan behaviour. It relies on our ability to accurately model the world around us: trying to envision a solution to a problem requires you to imagine within the physical laws you know. We can however model all sorts of things that we have not seen but still based on our experience. There are obvious limits to our imagination however, it is not possible to imagine paradoxes for example.
     
  4. Jan 30, 2012 #3

    Pythagorean

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    Imagination is how well our modeling errors match something they weren't intended for. : )
     
  5. Jan 31, 2012 #4
    For some reason this reminded me of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_paradox]Russell's[/PLAIN] [Broken] Paradox

    Imagination can be compared to a crude simulation. In a simulation you have the freedom to make your own laws and govern how things do what they do. So no, there are no predefined laws.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Jan 31, 2012 #5
    Cool paradox... Thanks for the link...:smile:

    Yeah i agree...... Its a lot more like a simulation with some extreme constraints....
    But what i cant understand is that in what form this thoughts exist in the universe?
    I mean Materials have mass and energy and the universe which we perceive with our eyes are full of materials... But the universe which we perceive with our mind are so non-materialistic....

    Have you guys heard of the dual universe theory of plato?
    About the material and the non-material universe?

    For instance, take any material, it is composed of many atoms...
    Energy radiation, composed of photons....
    But our thoughts are made of what?

    Yeah surely you can argue that it is a result of atomic interpretation within our mind that creates the illusion of reality within our head...
    But my question is how the interaction of some atoms with other atoms would make a make believe world in itself?

    The current physics' theories on the atomic level interactions doesnt even come close to explain this phenomenon, do they?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  7. Jan 31, 2012 #6

    Ryan_m_b

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    Look up the hard problem of consciousness, emergence and qualia for the current scientific and philosophical takes on the issue. Also note that as far as we are aware it is the actions of neural networks that give rise to consciousness (see NCC) not the atoms in the brain themselves.
    Any suggestion of a "non-material universe" is simply a supernatural/religious claim and therefore has no explanatory power.
     
  8. Feb 3, 2012 #7

    Pythagorean

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    According to this Science news article (it doesn't look peer-reviewed, but it draws on peer-reviewed studies) imagination is intimately linked with memory.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/315/5810/312.summary

    This lends credence to the position that imagination is nothing more than recombining learned information in novel ways.
     
  9. Feb 3, 2012 #8

    DaveC426913

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    'nothing more than'???

    Those words do not do justice to the words 'combining' and 'novel' - as if combining things in novel ways is trivial.

    In fact, I would posit that 'combining' and 'novel' are far more important than 'learned information'. Dogs and gerbils have plenty of the latter but very little of the former.

    Leonardo's Mona Lisa is 'nothing more than' recombining common paint dabs a novel ways...

    I'd say you've confused the cart with the horse.
     
  10. Feb 3, 2012 #9

    Pythagorean

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    I don't really disagree with your nitpicking, but all you've really done is added pathos.
     
  11. Feb 3, 2012 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Well, true.

    I wasn't refuting your statement so much as remarking on your choice of emphasis and gift for understatement.
     
  12. Feb 3, 2012 #11

    Pythagorean

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    I do agree with the subjective assessment that this a magnificent emergent property, I just always feel like feelings are under scrutiny on PF, so I try to omit them.
     
  13. Feb 3, 2012 #12
    I'm trying to imagine someone scrutinizing your feeling that feelings are under scrutiny, but it's beyond the limits of my imagination.
     
  14. Feb 3, 2012 #13

    DaveC426913

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    I imagine so.
     
  15. Feb 3, 2012 #14

    Pythagorean

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    This is becoming more complex than it needs to be.
     
  16. Feb 4, 2012 #15
    What does the idea of presence of non-material universe has anything to do with religion or superstition?
    We know our thoughts exist and this non-material universe idea might be one possible explanation to account for it... Why you people are so closed-minded? (No offense intended)
    btw Im an agnostic... I neither support religion nor deny them....
     
  17. Feb 4, 2012 #16

    Ryan_m_b

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    I am entirely open minded about things for which there is evidence. Being open minded does not mean that you never disregard things or that you admit to everything having a possibility. I will view any hypothesis without prejudice and judge it according to its evidence. There is no evidence that a non-material universe exists nor that our thoughts are the product of it. There is ample evidence that the brain is the seat of the mind and it is not a receiver for thoughts from elsewhere.
     
  18. Feb 4, 2012 #17
    Sorry, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect that....
    Anyway i believe the existance of non material universe which our mind is the interface between these two universes.... I believe qualia is evidence enough to believe in this theory... Even many bizarre psychological disorders can be explained through it such as multiple personalities, telepathy, phobias, emotions, intuition, ESP and so on...
     
  19. Feb 4, 2012 #18

    Ryan_m_b

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    Sorry but "I believe" is not good enough for a science forum. Thread closed.
     
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