In the Fourth Way System imagination does not mean conscious or intentional thinking; but rather a mechanical process which turns without any control or without any constructive result. It takes very much energy and turns the ‘thinking’ function in a wrong direction.
Imagination has many aspects; it may be just ordinary day-dreaming or it may be imagining non-existent powers in oneself. But this is the same i.e. it works without control and runs by itself. It often is a form of self-deception where imagining something about oneself, then believing it and then forgetting that it was imagination in the first place.
When the function of imagination is brought into awareness we call it by other names……visualization; creative thinking; inventive thinking. It is when imagination comes to us by itself and controls us that it is a ‘wrong’ function.
The worst aspect of imagination is that it presents non-existent things. We ascribe to ourselves powers we do not have; we imagine ourselves to be self-conscious although we are not and we imagine ourselves to be one person when really we are many different ‘I’s.
Negative imagination can be seen at work in all kinds of unpleasant things; torturing oneself; imagining all the things that might happen to oneself and to other people ……things like that. It takes different forms. Some people imagine different illness; some imagine accidents; others imagine misfortunes.
Adapted from the ‘The Fourth Way’ by P.D. Ouspensky