Marijuana and The Power of Imagination

Would you jump out of a plane with a parachute? Your imagination is crucially important for decision making.

„Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.“

Albert Einstein

 

The Underestimated Value of Imagination

When we think about our capacity for imagination, we often think of it as a kind of visual daydreaming – a handy ability utilized mainly by artists and other creative people. We tend to underestimate how crucial our use of imagination is in our everyday lives. In fact, we rely on your imagination all of the time – not only when we think creatively, but also when we make decisions. You may decide not to go skiing next week because you heard the bad weather forecast and imagine it to be very cold and nasty in the mountains. Anticipating the cold wind up there in the mountains, you can literally feel a shiver going down your spine. As this example shows you do not only visually “picture” situations in your mind when you use your imagination; you also imagine sounds, tastes, smells, feelings or moods. In his seminal book Human. The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique, neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga reminds us how powerful a role imagination plays in our lives:

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Marijuana, Pattern Recognition, and What it Means to be ‘High’

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“To understand is to perceive patterns.”

Isaiah Berlin, philosopher, 1909-1997

“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”

Henry van Dyke, short story writer and essayist, 1852-1933

 

The Importance of Pattern Recognition

When we talk about patterns or pattern recognition, we tend to think of simple visual patterns like a striped blanket. But our pattern recognition abilities are way more sophisticated than just recognizing basic designs like that. We can visually recognize and distinguish types of trees, cars, or the different painting styles of particular artists. And we perceive not only visual patterns in our environment, but also hear patterns in sounds or music; we perceive the tactile pattern of a wooden surface, the gustatory pattern of the taste of a mango and we can intellectually “recognize” patterns such as the pattern of a certain defensive tactic used by an opponent in a chess game.

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