WHIMSYIt has existed since humankind began, but it didn’t acquire its name and general definition until around 1605.  Some are inclined to call it brain spooling, but that includes more than just whimsy. It is the position of this blog article that whimsy is the root source for imagination, creative ideation, simple silly thoughts, and more. The above image maps out that inter-connective influence of whimsy.
Yes, the definition Meisters indicate that whimsy is akin to fanciful, silly, giddy, and more (see the image above for more examples). We see it as a state of mind where the brain is essentially allowed to spool on its own and at its own pace and direction. No, it is not night-dreaming. It could be day-dreaming. It could also be essentially sub-conscious in that we are generally unaware.  In most cases it is very relaxing and can lead to drowsiness and sleep or it can ease us into awareness as fanciful thoughts dance around and suddenly grab our attention.
Review of the literature essentially places the products of whimsy in the arts; in either the forms of art, music or literature. Well, what about science; no whimsy? We think it is there too, but being able to separate it from the very orderly and precise concepts that characterize scientific ideas is difficult. For example, when Einstein, as a very young man was musing about light and light rays he considered what it would be like to be at the extreme forward end of a beam of light. Hmm,  could this have started as a whimsical thought that grew quickly into a serious question and  then a serious scientific theory? In our view, we tend to credit whimsy as the possible spark that eventually gave us E=MC^2.
In the very popular modern movie, “Avatar” there is definitely a large supply of whimsy, but no viewer can watch the entire movie and come away with only an awareness of some fanciful fiction without any appreciation for the social messages hammered home in the movie. Here whimsy is both obvious and dominant, but we believe that for most viewers that whimsy fires off an array of ideas, reactions, and emotions. Our minds are fuller on exit than when we began watching. Depending on our particular philosophies, experiences, and social concepts “Avatar” and its solid dose of whimsy stimulates our thinking in a host of different ways and often for a prolonged period of time. Moreover, comments from some viewers indicate that the Avatar whimsies induced a whole, related set of their own whimsical thoughts. This, of course, is exactly what the author, producer and director wanted to have happen.
Would it be ridiculous to consider the Cosmos in a whimsical way? We think not. In fact if you carefully listen to those wonderful commentaries by the scientist Carl Sagan you cannot help but sense a subtle application of whimsy. It does not detract from his messages. It gently and almost surreptitiously pulls you into his explanations of  the Cosmos. “We are stardust people” is both lovely whimsy and solid science.
The human brain is so versatile, so astoundingly powerful and its abilities to integrate and assimilate definitely produces the seeds of whimsy. Unfortunately some of the more reality-driven tend to downplay, even cruelly mock evidences of whimsy even in the arts. This should be avoided at all costs. If nothing other than moments of delight, imaginative escapes or delirious excursions into a fantasy world are all that we experience, they are moments of respite for our minds, our emotions and even our spirituality. With a little practice and an increased appreciation for whimsy we may find we have gained a powerful stimulus for our own creative output.

IMAGE CREDIT: The whimsy diagram image is from: http://tinyurl.com/3sqzva2

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