THE crowning phase of the imaging power of mind is the imagination. It may be understood in two senses. First, imagination is often used to denote the general representative function of mind, the power of representing by images, thus including memory and association, as well as the constructive working up of images. Second, the word is often more properly restricted to this last process, that whereby the material of representation at the disposal of the mind is combined in forms of ideal construction, which are independent, in a measure, of the arrangements of external objects. While the latter is more properly the function which now claims explanation, it is not well to disregard the more general phases which the broader definition has in view.
Material of the Imagination. The material of the imagination, as of the representative function generally, is supplied entirely by the earlier function of presentation. The imagination never creates. It serves only to give form to ideas revived. The data of sense perception and self-consciousness supply all its content. And further, its material is always capable of being represented in the form of memory pictures.
Proceeding, therefore, to consider the broad characteristics of the imaging power, and disregarding the more particular processes which memory and association comprise, we find that general imagination is Passive and Active.____________________
Cf. my Handbook of Psychology, vol. i. chap. xii.