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Thread: My thoughts on imagination (and what can go wrong with it)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array guesswho's Avatar
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    Jul 2010

    Default My thoughts on imagination (and what can go wrong with it)

    Imagination, such an interesting thing. It connects us with what is possible. Possibilities which we cannot see and touch, with our body, but in a way, we can do that with our mind, our physical limitations may be compensated by our imagination.

    Now it is pretty obvious to me that people imagine things in different ways, but how real are the things which they imagine?

    For instance if one imagines an elephant, how real with that elephant be to that person?
    The abstract image of the elephant in our minds is not the same to all of us.
    But what if we don't know what an elephant is? How will we imagine the elephant then?
    If for instance, someone describes the elephant to us, and asks us to imagine it and perhaps draw it. This will be even more confusing, since we're drawing something we have never seen.

    Why would anybody care about the image of the elephant, projected in our minds, and how we perceive the mental elephant? Maybe because it's interesting...I don't know.

    Another thing I noticed, people aren't equally aware of the chain reaction of what we do, changes what will happen.
    Some people tend to be more connected to what will happen, and not be aware...of what's happening now as much. So in a way, they're more connected to the possibilities, then to what is already there, which cannot be changed, and maybe played with.

    So where am I getting at.
    The possibilities.

    How connected are people to the possibilities around them?
    And can some people be more connected the the possibilities, than what's already there. And once they achieve the possibility, it no longer has the same status, it becomes something real. Will it present an equal interest? No.

    So, to some people, possibilities are far more interesting than what's already going on, in their own twisted way, they perceive the possibilities as if they are more real then what is real, and they are unaware/not interested that much of what is real.

    Doesn't that sound a little insane? I mean that's my first reaction. It sounds completely insane. Someone caring more about what's not real than what's real.

    But if possibilities are real for that person and others, aren't possibilities real too?
    No because they haven't happened yet. But to that specific person, the possibilities are REAL.

    There are extreme sides of imagination.

    People who always imagine the worst possible outcome, I sometimes do that, and it kills me, because for me, that outcome is real, in an odd twisted way.


    Imagining diseases. One small pain can make you think you have a incurable disease. Why the fuck does that happen? Why do I do that? I don't want to do it.
    It's so annoying.


    Looking at the possible outcomes worries me, because I think of the 0.0001% negative possibility, and I experience it kind of weird. Even though it is low, I don't feel it low, I feel it as a 10% 20% 50% 100%

    Assume you're leaving your apartment.

    And you remember you forgot some plastic clothes on the heater. That actually happened to me. Then I started thinking what if they start burning? What if the whole fucking thing burns to ashes?

    It's somewhat obsessive compulsive.

    You get obsessed that something will happen.
    And you need to check, to see if it actually happens. This is the compulsion.

    Hypochondria is similar

    You get obsessed that you might have a disease.
    And you need to check, by looking at symptoms, or going to a doctor.
    Now for instance, if one checks symptoms of a fucked up disease that will fuel the obsession. Creating a repeatable cycle.
    You think...oh..I don't have that.
    But the next day, you have that.
    It's just weird.

    How does that work? Why does it feel so real?

    Does this happen to any of you?

    Thoughts like this don't just appear in your 20s, you've had them for a long time.

    For instance, when I was a kid, and I'd be really happy about something, I would suddenly get this thought...what if the gas pipe explodes? (I remember seeing that on TV) It's happened there...why can't it happen here?
    And I'd stop feeling that happy...I'd get worried.

    What if?

    Are these thoughts just malfunctioning neurotransmitters?

    What the fuck ?!

    Anyway...maybe you have some interesting stories to share...or whatever...I just get sick about talking about the MBTI on the forum all the time.
    Although I highly doubt most people will read the entire thing.

  2. #2


    Aw man, sorry you're in this state of mind.

    Yeah, I relate. Yeah, I tend to think my overactive imagination is both a blessing and a curse. It makes life more interesting, more amusing, more exciting, but at some point or another there's comes the "counterweight" - the moments (hours/days/weeks) of self obsession and darkness that comes from that very same imagination turned inwards.

    I view the world through my imagination and yeah, that's fucking insane. And it stands to reason that I would reap the repercussions of that. I don't know why it happens. I really don't. I'd like to blame it on my personality, but who really knows?

    The thought that it's a result of "malfunctioning neurotransmitters" doesn't really make all that much sense. Who's to say the way we think is a malfunction? A malfunction of what? Compared to what? Just doesn't seem that black and white. Yes it sucks, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's inherently bad. We all have our inner demons of sorts. Kinda seems like that's how humans are programmed. Or at least we're programmed to call them problems.

    And a lot of it's how you deal with it. You can run into a beehive and just stand there, or you can run from the bees and jump in some water. Even though it's our own consciousness, the fight or flight response still applies. Yeah, it may mean constant fighting or constant fleeing, but until we've figured out how to address it better, it might be better than nothing. I guess that's up to you to decide.

    And the truth of the matter is, I don't have the answers either. Just some imaginations.

    But yeah...uh...this is my attempt at support and comfort. Just to let you know you have my support and comfort.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array guesswho's Avatar
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    Jul 2010


    Thanks for the support

    Well I'm not like that all the time It's just that I don't understand why I'm like that when I'm like that, and it's more annoying than being like that.

    Neurotransmitters are actually the cause (that we know of) of obsessive compulsive thinking. I do think these things have a biological factor.

    I know this guy, who is suspicious all the time, everything you do to him, raises suspicions. And he tests people to confirm his suspicions, and I think that...even if the people he tests pass his tests he'll probably think the tests weren't good enough...and after feeling comfortable for a while...he will start doing the tests again.
    A repeating cycle.

    So, in this case, there is a imagined thread. That the other person is not trust worthy, and that he will be betrayed.

    It's all imagined.

    So weird....

    It's how possibilities are interpreted, seeing the 10% possibility as 90% and the 90% as 10%. Distorted.

    And a lot of anxieties function the same way....
    Seeing the negative over the positive.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by guesswho View Post
    Neurotransmitters are actually the cause (that we know of) of obsessive compulsive thinking. I do think these things have a biological factor.
    Oh hey, I didn't know that. Actually just read up on that (probably should have done that before posting at first). :P

    Really bizarre how it manifests itself in the first place. Have you had any luck with behaviour therapy?

    I had a boyfriend with OCD who refused to get professional help for it. We broke up a long time ago, but I talked to him recently and apparently he's now over it (said it just kind of phased out of his life gradually).

    I can't pretend to know how to make sense of these things.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array guesswho's Avatar
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    I understand how they function because I have to deal with them from time to time but I don't understand why they function at's not like it serves any purpose than annoying the person.

    I went to a shrink...and asked him the question. And he had no answer, he said it's biological. But if it's biological, how can it be fixed, through talking, wouldn't talking be useless? I can't talk your way into fixing a broken arm can you? It's ridiculous.

    So it's both biological and psychological.

    I don't even know why I'm thinking or even talking about this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array FakePlasticAlice's Avatar
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    Dec 2010


    I'm not an NT, but i'm gonna respond to this anyway.. hope ya don't mind.

    I have a very overactive imagination and i also have social anxiety disorder.. a good combination this does not make! From what i understand, these mental illnesses (social anxiety, ocd, agoraphobia..etc.) usually stem from being genetically predisposed AND being exposed to certain traumas during childhood. While these traumas might not be considered so to us as a child it's a much different story.

    As a young child, before my traumas, i remember being very shy..but i was quite functional. At age 8 my life got turned upside down. I was moved to a new town, taken away from everything i cared about (most importantly the man i considered to be my father - my poppy). There i was bullied, had no friends, my mother became very different and uncaring towards me, then enter an emotionally abusive step-father who ruled the house with fear.. and then my poppy was murdered (by a family member who was fueled in that action by his mental illness) and i was lied to about it for years and years..but i always knew the truth..or some version of it. I honestly believe that if all these things didn't happen to me, especially in such a concentrated time period and at such a young age..i may never have developed such severe social anxiety.. but just remained shy without ever crossing the line into a mental illness. It all just seemed to be the perfect conditions to develop a mental illness.

    While i don't know if there is any truth to this, but i believe my fears are made much more realistic by my extremely overactive imagination.. which hasn't seemed to fade much since childhood, but has become quite a lot darker! But i can't say that my fears and anxieties stem from my imagination. Maybe an overactive imagination is actually a bi-product of such issues? Or maybe my imagination is type related. I do find it difficult to separate my anxieties from my type sometimes.

    Also, it seems to me that many mental illnesses are so very close in nature that they seem to overlap somewhat. Like while i would say that my main problem is social anxiety.. i do have agoraphobic and ocd tendencies.. but not nearing the severity of the anxiety...or of other people who's main issue is agoraphobia or OCD..which i've seen first hand (i have an agoraphobic family member and an ex with OCD). I also have a very close friend who is a hypochondriac... and i really can't wrap my mind around it.. but at the basic level of uncontrolled worries that run away with you and you can't control no matter how much logic you use..i can understand that.

    Do you think you have a genetic predisposition for mental illness? Or any events that could have triggered it?

    EDIT: I don't know if i think these issues can be "fixed"..especially through talking. I think they can become manageable though Cognitive-Behavioral Therpy and/or certain medications .. or at least i hope!
    "You can't take a picture of's already gone."

    “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”
    -Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array guesswho's Avatar
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    Chemicals making thoughts pop in your head.

    This is so fucked up

    And the neurons develop as you develop, so maybe their biology is also dependent on what happens in the outer world, if something bad happens, it will reflect inside the brain.
    So even though the neurons are fucked up, in the right context, they can be OK.
    And neurons which were initially OK, in the "right" context, can get fucked up.

    weird. nature builds weird things.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Array Cat_Cloud's Avatar
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    Feb 2011


    I've been down a similar path, only I saw that in any given situation there's basically an infinite number of things that could happen, especially if you are the one saying/doing the "thing." Of course, the vast majority of actions will ellicite no interesting or meaningful response. This just opens up the number of possibilities from one perspective that could be taken. I have a lot of SJ friends, and when I go on my Ne "there-are-acutally-a-limitless-number-of-things-that-could-happen-so-we-should-all-wear-our-clothes-backwards" trips they just stare at me and assume I've had too much sugar...

    Seeing too many possiblities paralyzed me mentally for a while. Too much to do, too much that could happen. In the end I couldn't be productively, both in my head or in day-to-day tasks.

  9. #9
    Member Array Kuthtuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FakePlasticAlice View Post
    I'm not an NT, but i'm gonna respond to this anyway.. hope ya don't mind.
    Not a NT!? BURN HER!! Evil heretic Witch...

    Just kiding! =D

    Well I have a serious problem...
    I'm an ENTP + Atention Deficit + Lately diagnosticated with level 7 depression (scale from 0 to 10)

    And take note... thoughts can realy cause a shit storm in your head, i mean when i realy do hardcore thinking (when i get more I then E) dude... shit hits the fan. I think that most NT can relate to that cause allot of descriptions regarding NT say can "enter the world of thought"... Bull, we live in the world of thought completely fueled by imagination and when we point to a negative direction we just can't "turn off" the thinking and get on with our lives like other types, we hammer on all the possiblilities good or bad. Another thing I find amusing is when people think we can "Forsee" the future (in a very blury way), it's just when we think of something we try to dissect the thought into every single possibility...

    The blessing and the curse T_T
    "Try and fail, try again and fail better!"

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array guesswho's Avatar
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    Does it ever happen to you to look at all the possibilities of a specific situation and still act as if you haven't thought of anything. I mean I think of what can happen...but it doesn't change what I've decided.

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