Imagination in Design

Imagination and its limits were the topics of concern over the last week. In a past post, I had asserted that self-fulfilling prophecies are not a phenomenon but a human condition. This is because of the concepts of Psycho-cybernetics. In short, the concept of psycho-cybernetics states that the human mind once introduced an idea will continue to work on that ideas until it reaches its goal or solution.  Some ways we see this play out in our day to day are things like when we lose something and we ‘miraculously’ remember where it is later.

At the same time, the way we talk about the worlds impacts the ways we perceive and interact with the world. In a study looking at the way language and one’s thinking relates, “UC Berkeley cognitive linguist George Lakoff has proposed that the way we think about concepts is fundamentally metaphorical. In other words, we don’t simply talk with metaphors, we think with them. We rely on what is simple and familiar to us, like money, to understand what is more complex and distant, like time.” (Metaphors can change our opinions in ways we don’t even realize by Steve Rathje).

This has implications on imagination and its limits. Much of our language has a tone ownership over ideas. For this reason, we limit our own thinking because we have shaped our minds to believe that ideas are one of a kind, hard to come by and creates a fear in us to push boundaries. Our culture seems to have an obsession with the concern of ideas and imaginations being a limited source.

One way we can jumpstart this short on our imagination juices is through play, and reframing our understanding of the world. When we grow up we assume that we stop playing because we have seen this behavior modeled to us. But by not playing we stop learning. But what if we continue to play, explore and not allow social behavioral expectations to hold us back.

Making delightful things to stretch the boundaries of our imaginations, which in the long run can serve to help reshape our culture and behavior in a way that conditions us to be better to one another.