The basic underlying emotion in modernity is alienated despair; and modern culture is essentially a distraction from that fact: distraction mainly via the mass media, sex and intoxication - but also by careerism, consumerism, status games and the like.
But, given the totalitarian thought control of modern society - especially since the bureaucratic-managerial takeover of the modern workplace and the addiction to social media - how do people know that they are not living as they should?
Why are people not just used-to, accepting-of modern conditions? Why aren't they satisfied by a life of regimented distraction? How do people know there exists a better possibility than is on offer in The Matrix?
There are two main contradictory experiences that point beyond what we have. The first is early childhood.
In early childhood we experience what Owen Barfield called Original Participation - that is the immersive experience of being a part of the world, and the world being alive and conscious. Some people have explicit memories of this childhood state, but everybody has an implicit memory of it.
The other experience is dreaming. Many dreams are not pleasant, most dreams are not remembered; but like childhood memories - whether explicit or implicit - in dreams we experience an unalienated existence: the dream life is meaning and purpose and relatedness to reality.
So even the most indoctrinated and enthusiastic modern person has a deep and expansive reservoir of experience that contradicts the shallowness, literalism and emotional manipulations of modernity.
Yet it is not enough - because childhood and dream states are both regressive: pointing back towards unconsciousness. This is the potential importance of imagination - that it can point forward, as a first step.
But only a first step. Imagination should be a transition towards that conscious form of intuition that I have called Primary Thinking.