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I’ve been reading Michel de Montaigne, who warns against any flight of imagination as it’s his observation that it becomes manifest, either in the sense of delusion or even physiologically. 400-odd years later, I don’t think it’s controversial to say that this is widely accepted, albeit still poorly understood — e.g., the placebo effect — but perhaps not to the degree that Montaigne describes.

That seems to mark imagination as a “bad thing”, in the sense that it causes you harm, under Montaigne’s brand of Stoic-Epicurean philosophy. However, in my mind, that’s a very broad brush; human imagination clearly has its benefits and certainly shouldn’t be maligned or rejected outright. I don’t believe creativity is possible without imagination, for example, and creativity is an ostensibly “good thing”.

Are these three viewpoints genuinely in conflict, or are they reconcilable?

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