Imagination is slippery. It lives halfway in the world of physical reality and half in the realm of what isn't, what could be or never could be. In the realm of the imagination, it is very hard to draw a sensible distinction between the material and the nonmaterial. When we confront a new house, or a new car, or a new blouse, we see the physical object, but our imagination is racing ahead, concocting future pleasures and possibilities.
Each of us has little templates in our minds, cognitive scientists have found, influenced by culture, genetics, and individual will, so certain products or goods set off those light shows in the imagination, while other products leave us cold. You may be aroused by the aroma of a certain wine or perhaps by the sight of a certain powerboat, depending on your background and tastes. But when a product or an image on a magazine hits the right ignition button, it is like July Fourth in the brain. The imagination goes wild. The longing begins...— David Brooks, On Paradise Drive