Hello, Amazing reader,

This week’s #WednesdayWeekly post needs a little more pondering than my usual ones. It did take a lot more time to write too. But it was worth it.

We often hear that reality is very much influenced by imagination. Everything manmade – from the most amazing to the most destructive creations – all first took birth in a person’s imagination. Robin Sharma in his masterpiece – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari talks about “Blueprinting” which essentially means that everything in this world is created twice – First in the mind and then in reality. This is indisputable. But today’s post is about the vice versa.

Is your imagination also influenced by reality/experience?

The first time I realised this was when I was in school. A friend had watched an amazing Hollywood movie and wanted us all to watch it as soon as we could. It was a time before Netflix or other OTTs. Watching a Hollywood movie meant having to wake up at unearthly hours and download it via torrent (Only years later did I realise it was Illegal). We all wanted to know the story immediately and so the friend started narrating it. A few days later when I finally watched the movie, I was surprised to see how different everything was from what I had imagined.

The story was the same, no doubt. But the characters, the houses, the little details everything was different. Since I was unfamiliar with any of the actors, I put a face to my friend’s descriptions – Blue eyes, brown hair etc. A lot was left to my imagination. Had there been a second part to the movie and once again if I had listened to the narration before watching it, I believe there would not be many stark differences between my imagination and reality.

Over the years, I experienced this many times. Being an avid reader, I always read the books first and then watch the movies. Almost always, the movies are much different from what I had imagined while reading the books. (If you too are a book lover, you will be able to vouch for this).

A very recent example – Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. Having read all four books (A decade earlier) and watched all the preceding movies, I could not imagine anyone else, but Robert Pattinson in Edward’s place. Not only the actors but everything from the house he lived in, to the car he drove, everything throughout the book was influenced by the movie. Familiar, isn’t it?

Did you know that our brain is incapable of creating a face we’ve never seen before and manifesting it in our dream?

Let’s try it out!

Let’s try a small exercise to see if Imagination is in fact influenced by Experience (Do not google just yet)

1. There in the wilderness, near a small village in North India, one can find over 70 temples made of terracotta standing close to each other. Each one dedicated to Lord Shiva. Their walls intricately designed depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For many years, the place was almost unknown and thus found in a semi-dilapidated state.

2. A mausoleum made of white marble on the banks of a prominent river in India. a rhythmic combination of solids and voids, concave and convex and light shadow. It’s beauty enhanced by a               lush green garden, reddish-brown pathways and a blue sky above.

You may now see the pictures (Click on the words to view).

  1. Monument 1
  2. Monument 2

I bet, it was much easier to imagine what the second monument looked like even before you finished reading the entire description. It is because we have all seen it; either in person, images or virtually. But in the case of the first monument, there is quite a lot left to the imagination. It is less known and therefore not imprinted into our minds. The shape of the temple, the surrounding, the arcs, the gopuram etc differs from reader to reader, their imagination. However, once you see the image it most often sticks to the mind.

It would have been the same for the second monument as well. Only here, the image of what we already have seen (the reality), greatly influences our imagination.

A child’s imagination is wild. Unlike that of an adult.

The influence of experience over imagination is much larger than books and movies. It has the power to bend or mend a person’s creative muscles. If you have a wild imagination, it can deceive your brain into thinking that the problem is much larger than it is in reality. But if trained in the right manner, peppered with positivity and optimism, it can help you manifest some unbelievable dreams.

What is your take on this topic? Do you have any real-life incidents where experience has affected your imagination? Tell me in the comments below.

Featured Image: Toa Heftiba Şinca from Pexels

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6 thoughts on “Does Experience Influence Imagination?

  1. Hey,

    A very interesting article indeed.

    One of my friends/acquaintance had once given me this gem of a statement – “Show me one manmade thing in the world which is one hundred percent original and was not inspired by anything else/anyone else.” Truly enough, if you think about it, our imaginations and reality are kind of intertwined at times. Reality is born out of imaginations and imaginations are born out of reality. If you dig deeper on the topic, it’s like a rabbit hole, you will not know where you will land.

    That being said, although I get the context – I didn’t like the idea of using the words “reality” and “experience” interchangeably. Other than that, great article, maybe you can dig deeper into the rabbit hole when you find the time.

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