1 : an act or process of forming a conscious idea or mental image of something never before wholly perceived in reality by the imaginer (as through a synthesis of remembered elements of previous sensory experiences or ideas as modified by unconscious mechanisms of defense); also : the ability or gift of forming such conscious ideas or mental images esp. for the purposes of artistic or intellectual creation 2 : creative ability : GENIUS : ability to confront and deal with a problem : RESOURCEFULNESS
syn IMAGINATION, freer of derogatory connotations than the other terms, is the most comprehensive, applying to the power of creating, in the mind or in an outward form as in a literary work, images of things once known but absent, or things never seen or never seen in their entirety, of things actually nonexistent, of things created new from diverse old elements, or of thing perfected or idealized; it may carry the implication of mere tricky concoction, as of things unreal or odd, but is more frequently nearer the other extreme in suggesting the genuine artist's gift of perceiving more deeply or essentially and creating the interestingly and the significantly new and vital
The coeval histories of European colonialism and the rise of modern science offer the best proof of this new expanding and assimilating manner of human operation. The European 'discovery' and subsequent colonization of North America, South America, Africa, southern Asia, and Australia not only attest to the undeniable reality of European expansionism, these acts of global domination also manifested, in most cases, a forced assimilation for the native inhabitants of these newly 'found' lands. On the other hand, the rise of modern science offers a less negative realization of expansion and assimilation. After the publication of the heliocentric theory, an overwhelming amount of new and unprecedented facts confronted the human imagination, and, in turn, the human imagination had to properly assimilate these vast and novel bits of information. As Galileo's experiments with falling objects and his sightings and recording of the orbiting moons of Jupiter demonstrate, it was through thorough observation, that is, by careful and repeated visual and intellectual absorption of raw data, that modern science came into being. It was at this time that the human imagination first began to operate in a predominately assimilating mode.
Naming the physiological process of assimilation as likewise an operational mode of the human imagination establishes a heightened metaphorical level for the Timepiece of Humanity. Making a connection between a corporal function and the way the mind imagines, and then further relating this connection to a specific period in history, sharpens the chronosomatic focus of the Timepiece and, furthermore, acutely enhances the notion of the body as the paradigm of humanity's collective reality. This inaugural link between the Renaissance, the physiological process of assimilation, and the assimilating nature of the human imagination consequently suggests the possibility that other physiological processes may similarly correspond to other operational modes of the imagination, and, moreover, that the specific corporal location of a physiological process may therefore chronosomatically signify the time when the correlated imaginative process will predominate. The viability of such a suggestion is, of course, contingent on additional supportive evidence that only a further chronosomatic reading of the body could supply. It is worth noting, however, that, if the connection between physiological processes and modes of the imagination sustains an ongoing viability, the Timepiece of Humanity will then, in addition to demonstrating how consecutive points in time relate to consecutive slices of the body, also impart the evolution of the human imagination.