So I don't see the IS imagery as magic or particularly unusual. Any time you want to get the body to move differently, it seems, people use visualizations to help create the new movement patterns. And the visualizations rarely have anything to do with physics.
Hugh, if I'm getting that right, I agree with you. The problem with visualizations is that they're open to such a broad range of interpretation - and much of it incorrect or ineffective at accurately transferring the desired quality.
I see the IS community, even those quite experienced, tripping over themselves in an attempt to transfer their knowledge into written form. Peter Ralston is a perfect example. He was frustrated for years by his inability to write about his experiences in a way that would transfer more directly to the reader.
What's often missing is a way to directly communicate experiential knowledge - but it can be done. For instance, with bread making and the forming of gluten, we could write pages of visualizations to attempt to achieve the result of the reader understanding what they should be seeing, sensing, and feeling. Or we could come up with something that's easily accessible in their environment that would easily transfer the desired end result. In the case of bread dough, simply state that the perfect consistency of the dough is the same as the feeling of one's earlobe. That's not visualization; that's direct experience - which also allows for a continuously-available reference and feedback loop to the body.
I recently added the experiment of Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique
to accurate allow for people to easily get a sense of the quality of their own body operating more from a level of their own natural energy and strength. It also allows the hands and arms to function more as intelligent antennae - rather than dumb pieces of meat used as a block or barrier to incoming forces, or as a hardened tool or appendage that can actually be used against nage.
I haven't seen anything that someone like Dan Harden writes about where he advocates getting too far down the rabbit hole of various muscles, tendons, fascia, etc.. Getting too far into chemistry when it comes to cooking food can, in most cases, actually result in bad food. The way to good food is being around good cooks, experiencing and tasting good food. Having an experiential base from which to work. That's when constructive conversation and the sharing of ideas works.
Not through visualization, but through direct experience. The challenge - in any kind of writing on movement and performance - is to arrive at better tools to communicate - not ideas - but experiences.