Litany against Imagination


Imagination (fantasy) spoils and weakens us because it lets us accomplish whatever we want without any effort. Achieving goals in the imagination is easy because the stuff of imagination is so perfectly compliant to our desires. This is why Law of Attraction and similar forms of Magick Tech are so popular. And this is why people prefer living in fantasy rather than reality.

What is this stuff of imagination? On one hand it is perfectly amenable to the will—it is ruled by magick. On the other hand, it has qualities of objective substance.

  • Volitional—Western esotericism explained the imagination as the effects of the spirit on an “astral fluid”—a half-spiritual, half-physical stuff that can take on the forms and attributes of our whims. In Indian devotional literature (like the Puranas) this material was called Cintāmai—a kind of ideal “stone” that that embodies desire and realizes intent. You want to enjoy (behold) a red triangle? You can make one—out of Cintāmai. You want to devour that girl? You can make her—out of Cintāmai.
  • Objective—We can behold (see and feel) our imaginary creation as properly counter-subjective, as something that faces me from without (as something established in the not-me), as something the comes to me from material-corporeal otherness.

It’s amazing that the imagination is both extension-of-will and counter-subjective. But that’s not the point of this meandering post. The important thing is:

Reality Tech

Stop swimming around in the imagination where things always do what you want. It’s making you weak. Imaginary objects won’t satisfy you, and their lack won’t affect you. Spend more time with law abiding physical reality.

Imaginary corn will not help you live, and its destruction will not make you starve. Imaginary corn is inconsequential. Real corn is important.

What are the features of reality? Candidate realities must first be presentations—that is, inside the horizon of awareness. What distinguishes a reality-based presentation from a figment of Cintāmai is power. Real corn produces overwhelming and persistent sensations that I cannot imagine away.

  • Real objects produce sensations that are overwhelming—they dominate my awareness and cannot be imagined away.
  • Real objects are lawful and interact with the real world (especially my body) in lawful ways. Thus eating real corn will eliminate my hunger in the way that always happens when I eat real corn (or food)—there is smell, taste, temperature, heaviness, texture, and that unique change in my emotional state that only comes from eating food.
  •  Real objects occupy space in a way that resists my attempts to occupy that same space.

So merely being the object in “the subject-object distinction” is not enough to guarantee reality.