But this is a powerful tool that has many uses. One of my favourite uses for this is in visual thinking and using it to work things out.
Nikola Tesla developed a very high ability to do this. He used to work things in his head and compile complex schemes and machines with his own imagination.
You can read Tesla in his own words:
“Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop.”
It is a curious fact that once Tesla started an experiment, say switching on a motor and keeping it running for several days, he could devote his mind to other tasks while the running motor experiment carried along on its own, without conscious intervention from him, until he decided to switch the motor off and examine the wear and tear.
Yes, he could actually “debug” his inventions only in his mind.
Naturally, this talent didn’t come as a grace of God. It was developed by him during his youth.
He experimented with various mental exercises. He did these exercises “until I was about seventeen when my thoughts turned seriously to invention. Then I observed to my delight that I could visualize with the greatest facility. I needed no models, drawings or experiments. I could picture them all as real in my mind. Thus I have been led unconsciously to evolve what I consider a new method of materializing inventive concepts and ideas, which is radically opposite to the
purely experimental and is in my opinion ever so much more expeditious and efficient.”
So this ability can be developed! It’s not an inborn trait.
Tomorrow I’ll give you a set of exercises that can take you a good deal ahead for this!