Imagination vs reality

May 16, 2023

an illustration of the universe

Reframing the concept of imagination

Traditionally, imagination is considered to be elusive, abstract, and ethereal. While this perspective can sometimes be accurate, it often undermines the true potential of our imaginative abilities.

Microscopic perspective and the particles' potential

I prefer to analyze everything from a microscopic perspective. Cities, technology, human beings, and products, all essentially stem from tiny particles. For simplicity's sake, let's limit our imagination to the particles that make up our world, particularly the thin layer where we exist and interact with most things.

Imagination and the future

The futures we envision - future generations, cities, technologies - will all be constructed within this thin layer, using the same particles. These particles will deconstruct and reassemble to form new cities, innovations, technologies, and life forms, all from the same material mass.

Infinite possibilities and the role of imagination

There are nearly endless ways these particles can be assembled. To bring this into perspective, imagine a block of metal and consider all the possible things it can be transformed into. The possibilities are vast - a cup, an intricate electrical circuit, medical equipment, various forms of art, countless springs, an analog information storage device, and so on.

From imagination to reality

For example, if we imagine the block of metal as a significant industrial mechanical part, we have to consider the statistical likelihood of this transformation. Some may dismiss this as mere imagination with negligible value, but I contend that once we have imagined something, we are already taking steps towards making it a reality.

The universe and its potential

As we consider the timeline since the Big Bang, we observe that the seemingly random atoms comprising the metal block acquire profound meaning and purpose through our imaginative influence. It is remarkable how swiftly a spark of imagination can transform mere potentiality into concrete reality, emphasizing the profound closeness between our imaginative faculties and the manifestation of tangible outcomes.

Imagination and the everyday objects

Every object around us, such as a cup or table, embodies solidified imagination. We often overlook their potential transformations because they have become familiar objects. But like the block of metal, if we look beyond their apparent completeness, we realize they harbor countless possibilities. Everything within our perceptible reality holds the potential to be shaped and influenced by the power of our imagination.

Emphasizing the importance of imagination

In the spectrum between nothingness and existence, imagination occupies a position remarkably closer to the realm of existence. This perspective goes beyond esotericism and can serve a higher purpose in our external world observation.

Imagination and the future

The cities, systems, humans, and technologies of the future will largely be the product of layers of imagination, gradually exerting cultural influence on material reality.

Personal development and imagination

On a personal level, it encourages fostering imagination within reasonable bounds, and possibly pushing the limits of imagination as an exercise.

Taking imagination seriously

What if we took our imagination seriously? This applies not only to object-related imagination but also to imaginations related to perspectives, thought systems, world meditations, and meta-level systems that could potentially guide our worldview and mental journeys.

Imagination as a guiding principle

Just as we believe that imagining an object brings it closer to reality, we could also believe that imagining a particular thought process nudges our mental state towards adopting that system.

Experimentation and understanding imagination

Experimenting with these extremes might help us gradually understand, or at least sense, the true nature of imagination and its role in shaping reality.

The illusion of understanding base reality

Traditionally, we tend to fall into the illusion that we can grasp base reality. For instance, we perceive a cup as a cup, a table as a table. However, what we're perceiving is merely an interpretation. The first layer of this interpretation is physical. Physically, we are incapable of genuinely observing or tracking minute particles, the spaces between particles, or the full light spectrum, etc. Therefore, our perception only captures a segment of reality.

Reconstructing reality and the role of perception

Another aspect is our brain's reconstruction of what we perceive. We believe that an object like a cup exists as it is because our brain perceives it that way. This perception is generally accurate for basic objects. However, as the subject matter grows in scale (like a city or the universe) or becomes more abstract (such as concepts and ideas), our interpretation of reality becomes increasingly distorted, making it harder to perceive base reality.

Reframing perception through imagination

In this context, imagination can serve as a tool for reframing our perceptual layer. It can enable us to perceive things from multiple perspectives and realities, and perhaps with practice, allow us to perceive multiple realities simultaneously or switch between them easily. This capacity could be harnessed for pleasure, practical purposes, or other reasons.

FileMap and imagination

FileMap was designed with a unique intention: to be more than just a workspace for daily projects. We envisioned a system that serves as an extension of the user's mind—a second brain—for personal exploration and introspection. Our goal was to construct a space where users could visualize and manage their files, each representing a fragment of their ideas, in a manner that allows them to instantly materialize the concepts sprouting in their minds.

But our ambitions at FileMap extend beyond providing a practical tool for organization and visualization. We're committed to nurturing creativity, imagination, and collaboration. We view ourselves not just as a technology company, but also as a platform for cultivating novel ideas and wide-ranging perspectives.

We place immense value on the importance of mental exploration and engaging in thought-provoking discussions. Our aim is to resonate not just with our software users, but also with those who delve into deeper philosophical pursuits.

This article, delving into the power of imagination and its significant role in molding reality, is an expression of that commitment. It echoes our core ethos and we hope it ignites thought and sparks dialogue amongst those who, like us, appreciate these types of explorations.


  • Immanuel Kant - "Critique of Pure Reason"

  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty - "Phenomenology of Perception"

  • Gaston Bachelard - "The Poetics of Space"

  • Alfred North Whitehead - "Process and Reality"

  • Nelson Goodman - "Ways of Worldmaking"

  • John Dewey - "Art as Experience"

  • Henri Bergson - "Creative Evolution"

  • Rudolf Arnheim - "Visual Thinking"

  • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari - "A Thousand Plateaus"

  • Richard Kearney - "The Wake of Imagination"

  • Colin Wilson - "The Outsider"

  • J.J. Gibson - "The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception"

  • Jean-Paul Sartre - "The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination"

  • Edward S. Casey - "Imagining: A Phenomenological Study"

  • Thomas Metzinger - "The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self"

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