Imagination

Arguably, a ‘meta-analysis’ of man’s relationship with reality, which one must note is more theocentric than anthropocentric despite the denial in the public sphere, can be better carried out through aesthetic and qualitative methods than through rigorous mathematic and quantitative methods. Arnold Toynbee, a British historian who once belonged to the elite and mainstream of British society but was then canceled and shunned by the elite and mainstream for embracing religion, wrote: “The truth would certainly do well enough if she were once left to shift for herself…”

Toynbee added: “Those whose doctrine is peaceable and whose manners are pure and blameless ought to be upon equal terms with their fellow-subjects…Neither Pagan nor Muslim nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion.” 

In terms of the aesthetic and qualitative or even artistic approach towards conducting a meta-analysis of man’s relationship with reality, Abraham Maslow considered that art and aesthetics could possibly “become the paradigm for all other education.” Why art is the paradigm for a meta-analysis of reality is because reality is not fixed, as mentioned before. But in many cases, an inclination and talent for an artistic and aesthetic approach to reality and a meta-analysis of reality based on art and aesthetics is inherited rather than acquired, as Maslow argued. 

There is no generic understanding or explanation for why art and creativity manifests in certain individuals while others are far from artistic and creative in their approach towards understanding reality, although as mentioned before, the intelligence which prompts an artistic and creative outlook towards life and towards reality is an energy that emerges out of a certain “universal flux” and then joins together with an individual’s cognitive thought process. 

Immanuel Kant defined ‘imagination’ in the following manner: “Imagination is the faculty of representing in intuition an object that is not itself present.” Another translation of Kant’s definition of ‘imagination’ is: “Imagination is a faculty of perception in the absence of an object.” Imagination can both make the past present, and make present the future. Moreover, and as Hannah Arendt wrote: “Imagination does not need to be led by this temporal association; it can make present at will whatever it chooses.” 

As Arendt wrote, intuition and concepts come together in essentially making present what is not present. Concepts, as Arendt noted, emerge out of particular historical events or incidents which can then be applied universally. This coming together of intuition and concepts happens through a kind of imagination that emerges from the soul through what is largely an unexplainable manner, as Arendt wrote. Imagination then engenders and fosters a “schema” in the individual’s mind which recognizes and understands everything, as Arendt noted. 

In turn, all of the aforementioned is rooted in philosophy and poetry, as Heidegger contended. Philosophy and poetry are the emblems or symbols of an elevated status or state of being which can often be considered as “superhuman” or “supernatural.” And even as modern history has demonstrated, the status quo of doctrines, institutions, and traditions are “no longer sufficient” and as a result, educated people are prompted to turn to art “in all its various forms to fill the transcendental gap” that has opened up as a result of the status quo. But as Nietzsche rightly contended: “What serves the higher type of men as nourishment or delectation must almost be poison for a very different and inferior type.” Hence, the clash between those seeking to preserve what is largely a failed status quo on one hand and those who are motivated by a certain thought process and intelligence that seeks change on the other hand. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s