Phenomenology

Faculty of Imagination

D. Noon Tide Demons 

 

COMPARISON OF THE DISTINCTIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF IMAGINING, FANTASIZING AND HALLUCINATING

Based, with some modifications and additions, on E.S. Casey, 1976, Imagining: A Phenomenological Study (Bloomington: Indiana University Press); E.S. Casey, 2003, Imagination, fantasy, hallucination, and memory, pp. 65-91, in Imagination And Its Pathologies, J. Phillips and J. Morley, eds. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press).

 

Imagining

Pure Possibility: we suspend disbelief when we invoke the “sheer supposal,” and entertain what is not strictly constrained; it is posited and contemplated for its own sake and not for the sake of anything external to imagining.

Control Ability: we can, within broad limits, at almost any moment summon up what we desire to imagine and guide the course of its continuation.

Spontaneous: it can arise unsolicited, instantaneously, without any conscious effort or intention; we are mildly surprised.

Self-contained: does not imply the need for further acts or content, imaginative or otherwise.

Self-evident: the imaginer’s consciousness is unresisting, proceeding unencumbered by doubt as to the course and content of the imagining, for there is no way that it can be in error.

Simultaneity: we can imagine at the same time we carry out every day activities that do not require our complete attention, in parallel with or as an overlay superimposed on but not competing in any way with perception.

Indeterminate: there is an inherent vagueness, a spatio-temporal limbo, a lack of sharply focused detail, residual in what we conjure up by imagining.

World Frame: the world-like-frame of imagination is sketchy and schematic, with patches of space providing the proximal locale of imagined content, and stretches of time providing its immediate context; it is other-world in its discontinuity and fragmentariness, lacking the depth, breadth, and persistence we experience in the coherent spatio-temporal continuum of the perceived world.

Imaginal Margin: unspecific and formless, the almost featureless fading fringe at the outer limit of specific imagined content goes unnoticed most of the time; shifting our mental gaze we make it out explicitly as the indeterminate surround, the shadowy marginal zone or aura just beyond the content.

 

Fantasizing

Narrative Character:  it has a sequential structure that tends to result in a story told solely for the sake of its content.

Wish Fulfillment: the situations presented and the unfolding narrative are desirable, they provide emotional satisfaction, they are a salve for psychological wounds, they story a brighter tomorrow, the destruction of one’s enemies, etc.

Sense of Participation: the fantasist is a participant in the fantasy, e.g., as one of its personages or by reflectively identifying with one or more aspects of the narrative.

Belief: our personal relation to the narrative content evokes in us a special psychological allegiance, it feels “right,” it is “good” to our way of thinking.

Waywardness: fantasies often seem to have a will of their own, arising and proceeding spontaneously, under only a limited amount of control.

World Frame: similar to that of imagining?

Imaginal Margin: similar to that of imagining?

 

Hallucinating

Paranormal: imagined objects or events appear as if they exist in the perceptual world, but they depart radically from the usual course of perception, distorting it or replacing it completely.

Projected: contents are experienced as “out there,” existing externally to the hallucinator’s consciousness, scenes have a sense of obdurate otherness.

Involuntary: under very little conscious control, often occurring so quickly the hallucinator is shocked or astounded; a passive recipient of the unanticipated, largely unable to guide the unfolding or termination of events, the hallucinator may “feel” they are the helpless victim of external forces.

Belief: belief in the empirical reality of the hallucination is experienced in the present moment, it does not bear directly on the past or future; at the same time many hallucinators maintain a “critical” attitude even while they are hallucinating.

Sensuously Vivid: the hallucination must be sufficiently vivid to compete successfully with ongoing perceptual activity.

World Frame: none?

Imaginal Margin: none?

 

 

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