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  • This episode was probably made possible by the all new 2015 SUBARU LEGACY. It's not just a sedan. It's a Subaru.

  • Can you imagine what it would be like if we couldn't imagine things? Whoaaaaaa.

  • Hello out there in imagination land, I'm Julian and this is DNews.

  • The human brain is so amazing that we often take for granted just how special it is.

  • Our ability to think creatively and solve problems makes us a force to be reckoned with.

  • It's also enriched our lives by giving us music and art.

  • But it's something we can do at a level almost no other creature on earth can, so why are we so special?

  • According to Steven Mithen, an anthropologist who specializes in evolution of the mind at the University of Reading, we went through 7 steps on the way to being human that let us have and harness our imagination.

  • The first step, Mithen says, was developed way back, about 3 and a half million years ago.

  • Technically there weren't people yet but australopithecus, and they started understanding the theory of Mind right around the same time Panama was settling into place.

  • Theory of Mind is the ability to understand that other creatures have thoughts and beliefs that may be different to our own.

  • Though after spending 5 minutes on the internet, I'm not so sure everyone has this ability.

  • The next big development came thanks to Homo habilis' long path to adulthood.

  • Researchers think a lengthy childhood and adolescence means they, and by extension we, have a long time to learn and play without adult responsibilities getting in the way.

  • It's called Human Life History.

  • It's also the best excuse ever for not leaving college.

  • Mithen credits Homo erectus with developing Specialized Intelligence about a million years ago.

  • Now our ancestors could build specific thoughts into more complex ideas and start to compare them to each other to form new ideas.

  • Homo sapiens had finally come onto the scene about 200 thousand years ago, and they developed the final four leaps to imagination within the last 10 thousand to a hundred thousand, depending on who you ask.

  • It starts with language.

  • Now we can assign sounds to concrete objects and abstract ideas.

  • This leads to Cognitive Fluidity, where we can use metaphors and symbols to help us understand and explain an idea.

  • Those developments segue nicely into step 6.

  • Now we can clearly communicate an idea to someone else, and they can add their brain power to equation.

  • Mithen calls it the extended mind.

  • Sharing information and ideas helps them grow and change.

  • It's why, in my opinion, the internet is the single greatest invention ever.

  • Aside from sliced bread, obviously.

  • Finally modern humans could put all this to use when they developed farming and produced a surplus of food.

  • Now that we weren't moving around all the time and trying to solve our daily problems of finding food and shelter,

  • we could turn our collective imaginations towards thinking of new inventions or creative pursuits like art.

  • And being able to imagine things that seem impossible challenged us to find ways to make it real.

  • Like how in Star Trek 40 years ago they had communicators long before the cell phone was invented.

  • Of course, because they had to keep the plot going, Star Trek writers also imagined something else that ended up happening.

  • No reception. Thanks, Star Trek.

  • If you want to learn more ways language advanced the human race, Tara looks into that for you here.

  • And what's an idea you want to get the collective might of the human network behind?

  • Let us know in the comments, and thanks for watching DNews.

This episode was probably made possible by the all new 2015 SUBARU LEGACY. It's not just a sedan. It's a Subaru.

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Why Imagination Is So Important

  • 28160 1983
    彭彥婷 posted on 2015/02/28
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