Books Psychology

The link between imagination and anxiety

Cover for book Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety

“Anxiety is the price we pay for an ability to imagine the future. That’s what anxiety is, an imagination of a future that hasn’t happened yet, but that you are concerned with, worried about, dreading, and so on.”

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux, Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety

The imaginative scratchpad

The imagination is a scratchpad where the mind is free to fill the blank page with whatever ideas — both real and unreal — it can conjure.

Invention makes it rounds in the head, a collection of stills manufactured to inspire even more wonder.

One of the hardest parts about growing up is coping with the grip of seriousness. Boredom is the reaction to what you’re suppossed to do.

Excitement, on the other hand, seeks the freedom of disengagement. It approves of the ‘most august imagination‘.

But adults can retain their crayons. After all, it is creativity that separates humans apart from other species. Says the “Oracle of Silicon Valley” Tim O’Reilly:

We have to make it new. That’s a wonderful line from Ezra Pound that’s always stuck in my brain: “Make it new.” It’s not just true in literature and in art, it’s in our social conscience, in our politics. We have look at the world as it is and the challenges that are facing us, and we have to throw away the old stuck policies where this idea over here is somehow inescapably attached to this other idea. Just break it all apart and put it together in new ways, with fresh ideas and fresh approaches.

To put it another way from graffiti artist and corporate thought leader Erik Wahl:

“Our greatest personal potential is reached when unbridled imagination is applied with critical competence and when business acumen is embodied with artistic finesse.”

First, we flirt with the imagination. Staying provoked, we proceed in exploring all possibilities.