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What elements of our imagination exist in reality?

A recent essay explains that imaginary numbers are, in fact, very real. According to the publication, new advances in physics show that the so-called imaginary numbers "describe the hidden aspect of nature."

The article was written by Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, a science journalist, and appeared on the site. In the case of imaginary numbers, that is, those with a negative square root, it was thought that it was just something mathematical. However, scientists found that these imaginary numbers have a "physical signatures."

In other words, what was previously thought to be just a figment of the imagination (albeit in the context of an exact science like mathematics), now, after three independent experiments done in December 2021 and January 2022 in universities in China, Austria, and the United States, it is proven to be something very real.

The interested reader should find and read the mentioned article if he/she wants an accessible, but scientific, description of the subject, something that we obviously cannot provide here. But the fact that imaginary numbers are real (they are part of the wave function of light) invites the question: what other elements of our imagination exist in reality?

For example, if I think of a unicorn or a green Martian with antennae, I can without a doubt say that this "unicorn" and this "Martian" exist in my imagination, in my mind, without any expectation that one day, when crossing the street, I will meet them. Something similar happened with imaginary numbers: it was not anticipated to see them in real life. But there they are.

Therefore, what element that we assume exists only in our mind or in our imagination also exists in fact in reality, that is, in nature, but we have not yet discovered it? (When I speak of "discovery" I am not referring only to scientific experiments since knowledge is not reduced to scientific knowledge alone.)

Are the crazy images of our dreams (whether in our sleep or daydreams) part of some reality as real as the reality around us, but to which we do not yet have access?

And what about those ideas, feelings, insights, and abrupt bursts of creativity that seem to come out of nowhere and be sustained by nothing? Would they also be something as real as the imaginary numbers are now, but we don't know it yet, perhaps because we haven't yet reached a sufficient level of maturation to know?

And one more question: are the “imaginary” friends that so many boys and girls say they have something more than just the result of the feverish imagination of children? The subject is discussed in the episode "Imaginary Friend" of Star Trek: The New Generation (season 5, episode 22, 1992).

It is probable that we still do not even understand what imagination truly is and, therefore, we do not understand the reality of the imaginary. As Albert Einstein said in his book Cosmic Religion (1931), "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

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