After having studied the creative imagination in its constitutive

elements and in its development we purpose, in this last part,

describing its principal forms. This will be neither analytic nor

genetic but concrete. The reader need not fear wearisome repetition; our

subject is sufficiently complex to permit a third treatment without


The expression "creative imagination," like all general terms, is an

abbreviation and an abstraction. There is no "imagination in general,"

but only men who imagine, and who do so in different ways; the reality

is in them. The diversities in creation, however numerous, should be

reducible to types that are varieties of imagination, and the

determination of these varieties is analogous to that of character as

related to will. Indeed, when we have settled upon the physiological and

psychological conditions of voluntary activity we have only done a work

in general psychology. Men being variously constituted, their modes of

action bear the stamp of their individuality; in each one there is a

personal factor that, whatever its ultimate nature, puts its mark on the

will and makes it energetic or weak, rapid or slow, stable or unstable,

continuous or intermittent. The same is true of the creative

imagination. We cannot know it completely without a study of its

varieties, without a special psychology, toward which the following

chapters are an attempt.

How are we to determine these varieties? Many will be inclined to think

that the method is indicated in advance. Have not psychologists

distinguished, according as one or another of image-groups

preponderates, visual, auditory, motor and mixed types? Is not the way

clear and is it not well enough to go in this direction? However natural

this solution may appear, it is illusory and can lead to naught. It

rests on the equivocal use of the word "imagination," which at one time

means mere reproduction of images, and at another time creative

activity, and which, consequently, keeps up the erroneous notion that in

the creative imagination images, the raw materials, are the essential

part. The materials, no doubt, are not a negligible element, but by

themselves they cannot reveal to us the species and varieties that have

their origin in an anterior and superior tendency of mind. We shall see

in the sequel that the very nature of constructive imagination may

express itself indifferently in sounds, words, colors, lines, and even

numbers. The method that should allege to settle the various

orientations of creative activity according to the nature of images

would no more go to the bottom of the matter than would a classification

of architecture according to the materials employed (as rock, brick,

iron, wood, etc.) with no regard for differences of style.

This method aside, since the determination must be made according to the

individuality of the architect, what method shall we follow? The matter

is even more perplexing than the study of character. Although various

authors have treated the latter subject (we have attempted it

elsewhere), no one of the proposed classifications has been universally

accepted. Nevertheless, despite their differences, they coincide in

several points, because these have the advantage of resting on a common

basis--the large manifestations of human nature, feeling, doing,

thinking. In our subject I find nothing like this and I seek in vain for

a point of support. Classifications are made according to the essential

dominating attributes; but, as regards the varieties of the creative

imagination, what are they?

We may, indeed, as was said above, distinguish two great classes--the

intuitive and the combining. From another point of view we may

distinguish invention of free range (esthetic, religious, mystic) from

invention more or less restricted (mechanical, scientific, commercial,

military, political, social). But these two divisions are too general,

leading to nothing. A true classification should be in touch with facts,

and this one soars too high.

Leaving, then, to others, more skilled or more fortunate, the task of a

rational and systematic determination, if it be possible, we shall try

merely to distinguish and describe the principal forms, such as

experience gives them to us, emphasizing those that have been neglected

or misinterpreted. What follows is thus neither a classification nor

even a complete enumeration.

We shall study at first two general forms of the creative

imagination--the plastic and the diffluent--and later, special forms,

determined by their content and subject.

* * * * *

Wundt, in a little-noticed passage of his Physiological Psychology,

has undertaken to determine the composition of the "principal forms of

talent," which he reduces to four:

The first element is imagination. It may be intuitive, "that is,

conferring on representations a clearness of sense-perception," or

combining; "then it operates on multiple combinations of images." A very

marked development in both directions at the same time is uncommon; the

author assigns reasons for this.

The second element is understanding (Verstand). It may be

inductive--i.e., inclining toward the collection of facts in order to

draw generalizations from them--or deductive, taking general concepts

and laws to trace their consequences.

If the intuitive imagination is joined to the inductive spirit we have

the talent for observation of the naturalist, the psychologist, the

pedagogue, the man of affairs.

If the intuitive imagination is combined with the deductive spirit we

have the analytical talent of the systematic naturalist, of the

geometrician. In Linnaeus and Cuvier the intuitive element predominates;

in Gauss, the analytical element.

The combining imagination joined to the inductive spirit constitutes

"the talent for invention strictly so-called," in industry, in the

technique of science; it gives the artist and the poet the power of

composing their works.

The combining imagination plus the deductive spirit gives the

speculative talent of the mathematician and philosopher; deduction

predominates in the former, imagination in the latter.

On The Nature Of The Unconscious Factor Primitive Man And The Creation Of Myths facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail