Tuesday 13 June 2017

Introspection, Intuition, Imagination - (Imagination *is* knowing.)

That's the order of it, I think...

First we need to look-within - introspect - and that is difficult for most people. Which means we need to want to look within before it can be attained - want it enough to persevere.

Once Introspection is attained then there is the possibility of Intuition.

Intuition is a process - it is thinking with the real-true-divine Self. It is the most fundamental thinking of which we are capable; compared with which the great mass of what we call thinking is merely passive 'processing'.

Most of our thinking is 'caused', automatic, un-thinking - that is, it is 'programmed' by our environment and experiences - but the real-true-divine thinking is itself a cause and has no cause - it is a spontaneous origin coming from nothing prior (that is because it is divine, and that is what divine is).

But real-true-divine thinking is not just some different kind of process that happens to be uncaused - it is participating in reality, which means it is intrinsically true.

(Real-true-divine thinking is Freedom; it is indeed the only Freedom - the only time when we our-selves are agent, because autonomous from being-caused.) 

So when we are thinking intuitively, our thinking is true; intrinsically true, necessarily true - as well as being creative. It is true because it participates in reality, it is creative because it is uncaused - and these attributes are indivisible because they all are consequences of its nature.

Let us call this real-true-divine thinking Imagination - using Coleridge's distinction of Imagination in contrast to 'Fancy' - which is merely passive, caused, secondary and not-true because relating to not-real things. Fancy is merely a product of normal, automatic processing, an output rearranged from inputs...

But when we define Imagination as the primary, creative thinking that participates in reality; we can see that Imagination is intrinsically valid.

Imagination is indeed primary - it is not merely useful or expedient, Imagination is knowledge.

Imagination is indeed the only knowledge - only that which is imagined (in the way and sense described above) is real and true; and other forms of thinking are not.

In normal discourse, Imagination is synonymous with 'imaginary' i.e. untrue, unreal - but now it is apparent that Imagination is our divine selves thinking in the universal realm of reality: Imagination is knowing.



lgude said...

I am delighted by this post because I have recently been wrestling with just this matter of interior knowing in connection with Jung's great work of imagination (in the sense you define it here), The Red Book. External epistemology just doesn't work in what St Teresa called the Interior Castle. I am working hard on Barfield as a result of reading this blog and recognise your use of participation and find Barfield's understanding of the evolution of consciousness overlaps with my own and more importantly illuminates and expands it. I have, but have not yet read, a PDF of Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. Like you I feel compelled to take the step of recognising this kind of inner experience of truth a form of knowing. As handy as it is to know through the calculus when the tide will be in, inner knowing predates Newton and remains, I firmly believe, the more important form of knowing.

August said...

I have learned that imagining a thing to be true increases the likelihood that you will believe the thing to be true. And this is not always good.

Indeed, this was something I learned going through a Christian meditation with other people. The meditation was a biblical passage, and the idea was to imagine yourself there. I think, like most crap in this modern world, it was meant to elicit feelings. But it also meant people who didn't know what that era was like imagined things that were inaccurate, and that inaccuracy could easily lead to misunderstanding.

Your 'Imagination' and the more ordinary sort must therefore be much more distinctly different. It would have to be more like Imaging- or seeing.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AUgust - If you *try* to imagine a pre-specified something, esepcialy in a group, then that is 'Fancy'. It is passive. It is similar to watching a movie, or being hypnotised.

Imagination (by the Coleridgean definition, elaborated above) is the consequence of thinking by the real self. Until this true thinking is happening, you cannot know what is going to come from it. It is like the creative insight of a genius.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

This is a very difficult concept for me to grasp. How could an uncaused thought be true, except by chance? If imagination is intrinsically true, it must have some causal relationship to reality, to extramental states of affairs. If imagination itself is uncaused and yet intrinsically true, that can only mean that the causation runs the other way: that imagination causes reality to be what it is, that we dream the world into being. This is very close to nihilism/solipsism, so I don't think it can be what you mean, though you do seem to hint as much when you call imagination "creative."

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - This post comes in the context of many previous ones on the theme - so I was not attempting to cover all the bases but to make a concise summary.

Maybe you could do some word searches to find the relevant blog posts? Ill try and explain a bit:

"How could an uncaused thought be true, except by chance? "

Because uncaused thoughts are divine; and the divine is the only uncaused thinng in reality.

Divine entities (God, angels, Men...) participate-in thinking - the thinking is not inside their heards (as it were - which would be solipsism) but the thinking takes place in a universal and real realm.

Uncaused means that real-true thinking, in this universal realm, is not (like most of our thinking) a passive product of prior causes; real and universal thinking comes from teh divine self in an active and intrinsically creative way.

That is agency. To be agent means Not to be a passive outcome, but to be a source of primary causation.