From The Weekly Standard-
You might imagine, consulting some eminent minds, that the whole point of imagination is happiness. "Imagination cannot make fools wise," wrote Pascal, "but she can make them happy, to the envy of reason, who can only make her friends miserable." Samuel Johnson took the point but drew a different moral: "Were it not for imagination, sir, a man would be as happy in the arms of a chambermaid as of a duchess."
Then there's what might be termed the higher imagination, whose role, through revealing truth, is not so much to make us happy as to make us free. This species of imagination—along with its fickle sidekick, inspiration—is what is at work in genuine artistic creation. Where it comes from and how to get your fair share are the stuff of countless books and blogs, with answers ranging from reductionist left-brain/right-brain formulations to daffy quasi-mystical murk. Another view, perennial, is that imagination is a gift, divine at that: In the words of the Anglican theologian-philosopher Austin Farrer, "noble inspiration . . . belongs to what is most godlike in the natural man."