Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Reality of Imagination

In reading Owen Barfield, I have become more than ever before aware of what he regarded, all through his life, as the key question: In what way is Imagination true?

Because - following the Romantics especially Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and in-line with Rudolf Steiner - Barfield argued that Imagination was true; and not just true but the primary and indispensable truth for our time.

Therefore it is our task - now, at this point in human history - to understand what it means and implies to say and believe that Imagination is real and true.

And the reason that this is important is that it is our way out from the modern condition of despair arising from nihilism and alienation.

The first step, as we live in the world, is to notice the power of imagination - and rather than dismiss it as mere fantasy or subjective whim - to believe it is real and true. And then to discover what this means.

So, we read Tolkien... or some other book or poem or play; or see a beautiful landscape, or church; or whenever our minds in some way, any way, come alive with apprehension of some-thing - and then do not dismiss these (do not snub it, mock or sneer at it, refrain from satire - do not take it lightly) we need to hold to these feelings as true.

True in some real way, a source of knowledge.

What to do next, how to understand the knowledge, how to check it... these are secondary factors. But the primary one is to regard the power of imagination as the power to apprehend real, solid, valid truth.

That is just the first step - but for some, perhaps many, it must be the first step.