Summary of Imagination: It’s Not What You Think. It’s How You Think | Charles Faulkner | TEDxIIT

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00:00:00 - 00:15:00

Charles Faulkner discusses the importance of imagination and how it shapes our reality. He provides examples of how the imagination can be used to create new experiences and how it can be used to boost creativity.

  • 00:00:00 The idea that imagination is not what we think, but how we think, has been around for at least 275 years and has been rediscovered at least 50 times. This idea goes against our personal experience and the way the brain works. David Hume and Immanuel Kant noted that the imagination is situated between our perceptions and our understanding. Most people would agree with this idea. However, in the cognitive sciences, we can see things we already know and will not see things that we don't know. This idea, called the illusion of objectivity, goes against our everyday experience.
  • 00:05:00 Charles Faulkner, an anthropologist, discusses the concept of "sympathetic magic" which is the idea that like produces like. He then goes on to discuss how this idea is seen in other fields, such as literary studies, social psychology, and behavioral economics. He describes how these fields naturalize our environment, and how the phenomena of uncertainty can lead to superstitious thoughts and behaviors. He concludes by discussing how superstitious thoughts and behaviors are common in fields like gambling, athletics, and investing, and how these activities can be used to boost one's creativity.
  • 00:10:00 Charles Faulkner discusses how our imagination creates reality, and how our reasoning is steeped in the imagination. He provides examples of how our imagination creates experiences, not realities, and how stories are our first information storage and retrieval device. He demonstrates how our imagination can rapidly construct a story.
  • 00:15:00 Charles Faulkner discusses the importance of imagination and how it is more important than knowledge. He provides an example of how a scientist's imagination led to new discoveries in astronomy. He finishes by urging people to use their imagination to reimagine the world.

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