The Evolutionary Uses of Imagination

I have just published a post on fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press. Here is a taster. You can read the remainder via the link at the bottom.

Why are we so imaginative? What possible use is there in passing through the looking-glass with Alice or supposing that the moon is inhabited by creatures with aerials growing out of their heads? These are some of the wilder flights of our imagination and not shared by everyone. But doesn’t all this fantasy complicate our lives unnecessarily? Isn’t life difficult enough without keeping track of all the characters in Game of Thrones? Wouldn’t we be better off as cold rational creatures – a world of bean counters rather than hedge fund managers? But without this capacity to take the metaphorical plunge or make the leap into the unknown, we wouldn’t be human, we wouldn’t have a shared past and, I suspect as well, that we wouldn’t be found in nearly every nook and cranny of the earth.

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