Imagination is necessary but not sufficient for freedom. An unimaginative person can’t figure out what to do with freedom, and therefore prefers an externally imposed structure for his life. Children are often born with expansive imaginations, so it’s a shame that they’re born small, inexperienced, and undisciplined. After many years of experience as slaves, being directed by bells and whistles to move from one place to another like cattle, they become adults who are physically capable of being free but are mentally disinclined to it. It’s one of the more ironic jokes in this otherwise horrifying world.
An adult slave, granted his freedom, will immediately recognize on some level that he’s forgotten what it’s for. He will then turn around and demand to be told by his former master how to use his freedom. In the rare case that a man retains any trace of human spirit, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”
As John C. Wright likes to point out, there are three possible attitudes people can have toward the universe: they can believe the world is bigger than their mind can conceive, smaller than they can conceive, or the same size. I believe that the slave mindset is that the world is smaller than what their mind can conceive. In keeping with this belief, a slave will tend to tear things down in response to stress. The master’s mindset is, I think, the case where people believe that their theories are predictive of everything in the universe, and “God’s in heaven and all’s right with the world”. Their response to stress is to conserve the status quo and dismiss anything weird or amiss as strictly impossible (“the science is settled”). That leaves the free man’s mindset, which is the expansive and imaginary belief that “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” According to the pattern I’ve laid out, such a person responds to stress with creativity.