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In the inner world of idea and imagination, the human spirit is free and illimitable, self-generating and in control. It is the author of its own being, rather than created and constrained by inscrutable and uncontrollable forces impinging upon it from without. Accordingly, this is where the self-conscious creature finds itself more secure than in external reality. This inner realm is literally imaginal, ideal. Yet the self-conscious mind, a mere upstart on the evolutionary scene, is conditioned by its long genetic heritage to venerate only what it perceives as solid, real, and external. For this reason, idealism typically conceives the ideal, the image, the wishful thought, as already and actually existing independently of human mediacy. The inner or subjective content is projected outward as objective and real. In order to challenge the authority of nature, the realm of the Ideal must be conceived as superseding nature. It must be perceived not as mere wishful thinking but as substantial, independent, preceding mind both logically and temporally in the way that nature does. Hence the tendency of religions and mythologies to project the utopian condition backward in time as a golden age, and to project human aspirations as the attributes and dictates of the gods.

RELATED TAGS: [inner world (of imagination), free human spirit/agency, self-generation/creation/definition, self-conscious creature/organism/mind, projection of ideal, psychological projection, authority/power of nature, superceding/transcending nature, (technological) utopia, human aspiration/condition/hope, origin of ideal(ism)]

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