Read CROWDS AND MACHINES - CHAPTER VI of Crowds A Moving-Picture of Democracy, free online book, by Gerald Stanley Lee, on


The modern imagination takes, speaking roughly, three characteristic forms: 

1.  Imagination about the unseen or intangible-the spiritual-as especially typified in electricity, in the wireless telegraph, the aeroplane:  a new and extraordinary sense of the invisible and the unproved as an energy to be used and reckoned with.

2.  Imagination about the future-a new and extraordinary sense of what is going to happen next in the world.

3.  Imagination about people.  We are not only inventing new machines, but our new machines have turned upon us and are creating new men.  The telephone changes the structure of the brain.  Men live in wider distances, and think in larger figures, and become eligible to nobler and wider motives.

Imagination about the unseen is going to give us in an incredible degree the mastery of the spirit over matter.

Imagination about the future is going to make the next few hundred years an organic part of every man’s life to-day.

The imagination of men about themselves and other people is going to give us a race of men with new motives; or, to put it differently, it is going to give us not only new sizes but new kinds of men.  People are going to achieve impossibilities in goodness, and our inventions in human nature are going to keep up with our other inventions.