This thought occurred to me during a walk yesterday evening, around sunset. I don't intend to go all mushy on you, but it was one of those evenings that, to paraphrase Bertie Wooster, almost make a chap feel as if he's got a soul-thingy or something. How to communicate this feeling? Perhaps more importantly, how is it communicated to us in such a direct and unmediated (by discursive ideas) fashion?
I suppose we could communicate it via poetry or painting, or maybe even music, none of which can be reduced to, or contained in, mere instrumental reason.
More generally, man always has two methods at his disposal, the analytic and the synthetic. It is this latter that cannot take place in the absence of imagination -- although it also comes into play in determining what to analyze. But analysis in general is something a computer can handle, whereas putting it all together in a creative synthesis is something only the soul can accomplish.
Now all humans, whether they acknowledge it or not, are on a quest for reintegration. Moore writes of "two modes of thought," one of which corresponding to what he calls "the common mind," the other, "the disintegrative mind."
The skeptic, for example, has a hypertrophied disintegrative mind that is not so much wrong as partial: it simply cannot join together what it has ruthlessly put asunder, neither in space nor in time (i.e., tradition and the priceless wisdom of the Living Dead), since it is mechanical and not organic (or organismic).
If everyone were afflicted with this psychic imbalance, civil society would be quite impossible, because there would be no shared metaphysical dream. Of course, one cannot really abolish metaphysics (or dreaming), so what we would really share is the soul-stifling materialism of the left, a metaphysical nightmare in which the only thing that unites us is the state. But that is not unity -- unity implying diversity -- but a mere unicity or "totalism" that sacrifices individuality for coerced order. You're still living the dream. Just not yours.
"Without the imagination," writes Moore, "man is shut up in himself, in the present time, in the material world, and in his logical processes." Furthermore, without the imagination, he is apt "to shut up others, too, in his clean and tidy prison."
Have you ever been shut up in someone else's clean and tidy prison? If the answer is No, then you haven't been paying attention, and certainly not to your government.
But it actually happens much earlier than that, when the only govern-ment we know is family and school. Both institutions, when they are dysfunctional -- which they usually are -- place great pressure on the individual to unconsciously assimilate a metaphysical dream that strangles the imagination in the crib.
This can be done with "the best of intentions." I know that my parents, for example, had nothing against me per se. They just didn't have a clue as to what I was about. Same with school. My teachers no doubt didn't want me to be bored and unable to see the point of it all.
I am grateful, however, that neither institution forced the issue, which at least left in escrow an unoccupied space, a hidie whole for later development. After all, an empty lot is far preferable to a crater filled with BS, or to an ugly office building. Yeah, my soil was pretty barren, but at least it wasn't overrun with weeds and parasites. Reminds me of a sign I saw on the road to Happy Acres:
Yes, it is true that in school I didn't learn much. Thank God! My idea for educational reform is to confer a Ph.D. on every infant at birth, so one can get on with the serious business of properly unlearning all the stupidities of the tenured.
Above I alluded to the organismic nature of reality. If reality is organismic, it is because it is everywhere latently "alive." In other words, life is not a function of biology, but rather, the converse: biology is a function of Life. If this were not the case, then Life would be strictly impossible.
Moore writes that "rationalism is the imposition of a predetermined, mechanical form of reasoning that does not correspond to the spirit of nature"; it is, in the words of Coleridge, "a blind copying of effects instead of a true imitation of essential principles."
One might say it is an exterior copy as opposed to an interior prehension -- for example, as muzak is to jazz. What distinguishes these two?Rick.)
There are obvious political implications, for example, say, in the distinction between the organically developed common law of Great Britain vs. the philosophical abstractions imposed in the French Revolution (and every revolution since). Revolutions do not lack their imagineers -- far from it -- but their visions are parasitic on their abstractions, as we have seen in Obama.
What is Obamaism but a fantasy of how the world ought to work? Nice dreams. Wrong world. And wrong Father.
The IMAGINATION then, I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM...
FANCY, on the contrary, has no other counters to play with but fixities and definites. The Fancy is indeed no other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the order of space and time..."
I was going to end with that, but Moore goes on to explain that Coleridge is speaking of "a way of seeing the world as a whole, like a living organic being, rather than a sum of working parts, like a machine" -- and of "two fundamentally different ways of looking at the world" -- of the head isolated from the heart vs. head and heart rejoined to gather in wholly matterimany.
So, to imagine there's no religion is to imagine there is no imagination. But it isn't hard to do. Just imagine the left is right, and gravity and decay will take care of the rest.