We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

Most people fear this subject like they fear bears, snakes and spiders.

Imagination is what we use to get through the day. All of us, not just some of us.
We all use it constantly to make ourselves feel safe and confident. We use it to make ourselves believe we know much, much more than we do about literally everything.
All of us do this, not just some of us.
Those of us that are not aware of this function in our own minds are prone to believing our own mind-stories thoroughly.
The less aware we are of our own imaginations weaving stories for us, the more we deny that it happens.

For instance, when we eat food we bought at the market or in a restaurant, our imagination says "this is safe to eat". Reality is, we have no actual evidence that the food is safe. Unless we test all of the food we are about to eat with lab equipment, we do not know it's safe. But if we don't get ourselves to believe it's safe, we'll starve.

When we see or meet another person, we make a story up about them. The purpose of this is so we will be able to function in the new person's presence, and not react in fear, or get ourselves hurt. In reality, we actually know nothing about them, but our imaginations will fill in the huge blanks anyway based on extremely superficial things. We also factor in our own self-image and ego in order to create the story about the person so we can make them smarter or dumber than ourselves, weaker or stronger, more or less experienced, more or less ethical. In reality, we have only a thimble full of real information about the person, and that may not even be true. We are basing an entire story of the person's personality, ethics, experience, ability, physical strength, motives, and background on some things about their appearance, the way they talk, how big they are, and what sex they are. Then we think of our OWN self-image, and we craft our story about WHO and WHAT this person is, and how we WANT this person to be. 

If we hit one or two things on the mark, we think we are right about everything... 

We even do this with people we have "known" for years. Once we make up a story about another person, we tend to continue to believe it forever, regardless of facts that contradict our fantasy. And we will continue to treat the person as if our fantasy of them is real.

This is why we are so often surprised when we find out a person has certain experiences or skills, or is smarter than we thought, or turns out to be a criminal. We made up a fantasy story about the person and believed it without actually finding out anything factual about them. It would take a very long time to actually get to know a person for real, but most of us would rather simply fill in the blanks with illusions, fantasies and stories that we make up in our own heads. 

We like to make people into characters and caricatures on a regular basis, based on not much more than our imaginations and egos.

If our imaginations didn't work overtime every day, if we were fully aware of all the factual information around us, we would all be hard-pressed to walk out the front door due to our overwhelming fear. But since the human brain takes over with imagination, we walk right out the door, drive our cars, interact with random humans, eat whatever food we buy, and walk around in the open space breathing air. The imagination helps us to live. But it also keeps us in a story-land of our own making.

Yes, true!! Perhaps the most tragic thing is that we form fixed images of those we come to 'know' and in this we imprison them. We trap them in the image and block free movement of the individual, who in fact is probably a totally different person when perceived by another. We tend to hold each down with this rigidity, and often will not tolerate the same rigidity of perception of ourselves from others. We find it most difficult to let go of, yet it is simply belief we call the truth.
It's all in the thinking process, which is trying to protect the image we have of our self. It is possible for this process to be quiet and simply listen. We are rarely truly giving full attention because we are distracted by pain.