Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Modern realism offers us only a half-life existence

Writer, translator, teacher Clark Hansen blogs about narrative styles in his post "Understanding Archetypes: Thomas Moore" that refers to the work of James Hillman and Thomas Moore regarding the significance of imagination. Hansen’s quote about imagination and modernism from Moore’s Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality begins:
"It is difficult for a modern person, influenced by the myth of fact so embedded in our thoughts and values, to realize the importance of imagination. We are educated to prove our intuitions with empirical experiments and studies. Anything not verifiable by investigation of the senses we consider suspicious at best.

This materialistic view of things gives us a half-life, a partial view of experience. The images of memory, dream, and fantasy then become useless, if not interfering. We distrust intuition and imagination as superstitious, a charge that quickly wounds our modern notion of intelligence. These other powers make us feel inferior, and we can't wait until our suppositions are proven by some sort of hardware or research design."
Hansen also refers to Hillman’s obituary in The New York Times that includes:
"Some people in desperation have turned to witchcraft, magic and occultism, to drugs and madness, anything to rekindle imagination and find a world ensouled," Mr. Hillman wrote in 1976. “But these reactions are not enough. What is needed is a revisioning, a fundamental shift of perspective out of that soulless predicament we call modern consciousness."