Imagination: A Human’s Special Sense
Human beings have the ability to create their own individual worlds through imagination. However, the imagination is limited because of the constant use of technology and the reliance on vision. The technological culture has separated humans from the actual world and their senses; much like vision has done. In the essay “The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses”, Juhani Pallasmaa focuses on the exploration of the senses and how they interact with one another. We also see his discussion on how vision can affect the human experience. The more visually capable we are, the more we begin to lose our sense of imagination. Similarly in the essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, Nicolas Carr argues that the more we rely on technology and the Internet, the more it will affect humans in today’s world, as well as our ability to read and comprehend. Living in a society that relies mostly on technology, individuals fail to create a balance between the Internet and their actual senses. The more we depend on technology, the less room there is for the mind to imagine. Our brains have reached a point where we fall into a daydream with anything that does not catch our attention. Furthermore, in “The Mind’s Eye”, Oliver Sacks explores some of the most fundamental facets of human experience: how we see in three dimensions, how we represent the world internally when our eyes are closed, and how remarkable, and unpredictable our brains find new ways of creating new worlds through imagination. The obscuring of vision leads to imagination but once we begin to imagine, we gain the ability to preserve and envision the world around us in a new way, and thus we use the senses to help us imagine more deeply.
The experience of living affects imagination because vision and technology does not allow us to stay focused because we have become used to the commodity of technology and vision. Carr states, “now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages” (67). In other words, Carr is explaining how the constant use of technology is depriving him from actually sitting down, reading a book and focusing on the text. The Internet is reprogramming us to imagine more often and not pay attention to what one is actually doing in the real world. The reading and analysis has now become a struggle for individuals whose life is surrounded by technology. Similarly, Sacks describes the idea that when we are on the level of imagination, one can no longer interpret “what is visual, what is auditory, what is image, what is language, what is intellectual, what is emotional—they are all fused together and imbued with our own individual perspectives and values” (317). Imagination makes us realize our own individual worlds. Once we have imagination, what we see, hear, feel and touch is brought together into our own view. When we imagine, we begin to lose the ability to see what is going on in society. This occurs because vision and technology are being concealed. For example, when we begin to daydream, someone may try and get our attention to bring them back to reality, but it may take longer for us to realize that someone wanted to get our attention. This happens because we get caught up into our own imagination and forget what is going on in the outside world. Similarly, Pallasmaa states that, “deep shadows and darkness are essential, because they dim the sharpness of vision, make depth and distance ambiguous, and invite unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy” (286). Pallasmaa is explaining that darkness is essential for one to be able to imagine. It obscures vision into darkness. The darkness makes the world around us “ambiguous” and allows imagination to take effect. Carr’s idea of our minds drifting away from what we are actually doing is similar to what Pallasmaa is saying because the darkness is a distraction in which leads to imagination....
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