We’ve got a prefrontal cortex that works as an experience simulator.
PERHAPS NONE OF OUR mental capacities is as underutilized as our power of visualization. Einstein spoke of the “gift of fantasy” that virtually every child develops, saying that “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Immanuel Kant said that “thinking in pictures precedes thinking in words.”
We can make movies in our minds and construct three-dimensional models of things that do not exist. Yet we don’t use this built-in experience simulator as much as we should and could. We dream at night, but we usually can remember only random bits of footage. While we’re awake, we are constantly overexposed to so many images—on television, ...