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The Work of Imagination

The Beautiful Work of Imagination and Our Sense of Perceiving Art

What does imagination represent and how does it influence the way we perceive art? Find more about this subject from this piece below.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Imagination could be defined as the work of the mind that helps us create an artistic product, for instance. We can examine the different psychological reasons and resorts on which human imagination depends. Non-musicians, for instance, who are usually less capable of perceiving a musical piece through the same critical and analytical perspective of musical experts, are merely capable of transposing the audio excitation that usually translates into their minds into powerful emotions, into visual images. Thus, we could say that non-musicians "read" music through images, with the help of their imagination.
The ambiguous affective excitation can be manifested as personal reverie, incapable of adhering to the musical object. If it does adhere, it can only turn musical fragments into images. Even while the subject is in the process of creating his very own musically emotional sphere, it may happen for this sphere to go beyond the audio limits. Like a powerful excitation, it can make the individual's entire sensitivity system vibrate. This can be called sensorial transposition, transfer, correspondence, etc.
There is only one type of sensitivity at work in the aesthetic emotion. The entire human spirit takes part in the creation of this kind of emotion. There are a priori forms of the sensitive intelligence, so to say and these are in fact the great general laws of aesthetic sensitivity. There is also intelligence in action, the need to know things, to understand, together with the skills of intellectually representing and stylizing things. Imagination has the tendency to complete and go beyond the defined aesthetic feeling. In a way, imagination proclaims the unity of arts, beyond the peculiarities of any of these arts. Baudelaire was perhaps right when saying that in every work of art there is a missing part which is completed by the aesthetic subject's imagination. Each art actually represents only one aspect and artistic moment. At their very origin, arts get mixed in a sort of synthetic confusion, out of which they get differentiated in order to express themselves in their individuality and specificity.
Nonetheless, the deepest musical contemplation can quite often result in images and also a sort of mind poetry, images that are filled with musicality. Henri Delacroix compares the way of perceiving music and art in general, to the religious contemplation. He thus explains how certain mystics "find shelter" in the Divine shadow and reject everything that is labeled as distinct and ascertained. But there are other mystics also to which ecstasy is translated into visions. The void of the imagination often comes from a critical attitude, from choosing indifference and repression. Other mystics get rid of their visions by plunging into action.
On the other hand, there are mystics who accept and embrace their visions. They find them useful, something that they can learn from in order to develop spiritually. Visions can thus serve to explain the ambiguous, confused states of mind. Thus, they are the expression of ecstasy's utilitarian sense. At any rate, the analogy of the work of the imagination with the process of a vision-creating into the mind of a mystical person is quite interesting. Delacroix says that the state of ecstasy is first and foremost a state of mind that wants to impose itself onto the human spirit. Regardless of any elements that are stranger to the nature of contemplation itself, visions can be regarded as the expression of ecstasy's lyrical element. Because visions can satisfy a mystic's deepest tendencies and spiritual desires, they are cultivated and searched for.
Many people have the tendency to associate music with a certain interpretation, a science, an object. We are meant to search for meanings and intelligibility. In a chaos of impressions, we are looking for a certain map to get oriented. And because it does not pertain to chaos, music can direct us towards certain clear schemes. And instead of remaining immanent to the music, it can rise in front of the human spirit like a sort of symbol. Whether we associated music with visuals or not, one thing is for sure: all arts are interrelated and interconnected. And through the work of the imagination, they can be used together to enhance our aesthetic perception.
Confused states of mind
Music Mind Space
Imagination artistic mind