Reply To: Poetic Imagination,” with futurist Kristina Dryža”
Thank you for the questions Stephen.
To your first one, language puts the air in vibration. I believe that how we speak to a plant has an effect on how that plant grows. Supportive or criticising words affect how both humans, and plants, develop. Language carries the mentality of people. There is no neutrality in language. We can speak both plants, and people, into being. We can recreate and transform the world by how we use our words.
Why am I writing this? Because how often do we enjoy the aliveness of language? Too often we deaden it. We must have joy in our expression and articulation. Abstract thinking with no rhythm, rhyme or pictorial expression prevents Aphrodite from appearing in our communications. Beauty and aesthetics are crucial on the spiritual path because they have the might, and impressive ability, to pull us into a respecting and loving devotion.
When we only exercise a rigid intellectuality, with the dullness of a rock, the hard thoughts and mechanisation of the mind bring a death force to ourselves, and to nature. What we’re after is an imaginative clairvoyance, not a vacant one. So to me, pictorial thinking is an imaginative fluency that indirectly benefits the spirit, as much as matter.
And manifestation too requires a pictorial capacity, the ability to express in pictures. So how can we get our thinking as colourful and vibrant as the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat? How can we employ the richness of imagination? It requires starting from the cosmos, the great picture, then drilling down to the microcosm, and accessing all the wealth of imagery in between to potentially reach a deeper, inner understanding of the world.
We get nourished by vivid, descriptive, visual thoughts. Much more than our usual grey, lifeless thinking. And as I mention in this MythBlast, it’s necessary to wrestle with the pictures in our own minds to get to their truth, because otherwise our nervous system gets depleted with all that abstraction devoid of any iconographic or picturesque content.
Patterns in the psyche exist individually and collectively, and so we paint them in with words and express them through images. Eternal stories get clothed culturally, and it’s what brings our beautiful and diverse world to life. It’s actually rather unhealthy to take in images and impressions, which we don’t understand. If we don’t take the pictures in and live them, they can become a corrupting influence. When it’s no longer solely a picture in our mind – when it’s nestled deep in our bones – that’s when we can transform the image.
By penetrating the images with our consciousness, and letting them move through the drama of our lives, well, that’s when we can play with them. And play keeps us in present time. And here I defer to Campbell’s words in Myths of Light. “There is a curious and extremely interesting aspect of the Japanese language. There is a form of very polite discourse known as ‘play language’ (asobase kotoba), where instead of saying, ‘I see that you have come to Tokyo,’ one says, ‘I see that you are playing at being in Tokyo.’ The idea is that people do what they do voluntarily, as one enters a game. Life is a game. This goes so far that, when using this very polite language, you wish to say, ‘I hear that your father has died,’ the way to say it is, ‘I understand that your father has played at dying.’ I submit that this is a glorious approach to life.” 
And in regards to the second question, again, to me, linear knowledge involves a process of thought following known, step-by-step progression in a sequential manner. Favouring logic, rationality and analysis is comfortable, because it’s familiar. But familiar doesn’t always imply appropriate. Thinking in a straight line, with a focus on one-dimensional awareness and reductionism works in a ‘known’ world. There was a time and place for this type of intelligence to dominate but old, linear ways of working are unsustainable in an accelerated, ‘unknown’ world. Currently we’re in a state of transition, a liminal phase, where forces of disintegration and integration are occurring simultaneously. We can no longer understand the world in a logical, sequential manner as cognitive reasoning can’t lead to transformation in an ‘unknown’ world.
So, can we favour a non-linear perspective? By this I mean a capacity for spiral thought with multiple starting points, which can extend into multiple directions. Can we place more attention on intuition, our emotions, as well as thinking and feeling circularly, with an awareness of the consciousness inherent in all living things, like nature and the land? Put simply, holism.
I feel that there is a shift from the Cartesian dictum, ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am) to ‘I sense, therefore I am.’ That there’s a move away from design by force to instead creating through presence – sensing and being attuned to what’s emerging, what’s arising and what wants to be born in the ‘now’ moment. It’s crucial for us to engage our thinking, feeling and willing with all our senses to stimulate the head, hands and heart during this evolutionary moment for humanity. But will those who are driving economic and political policies around the world hear this? Jesus said many times throughout the Gospels, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
I so look forward to dialoguing with you all this week, Kristina.