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Reply To: The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is Within Reach,” with Dennis Slattery, Ph.D”

Dennis Slattery

    Hi Shaahayda and thank you for such a thoughtful and rich series of insights.

    I love your questions as well. I cannot remember the author of what I am going to write next, that “imagination IS reality.” Sorry about losing the author but the idea is so rich. It may have been the poet and artist, William Blake. It is fascinating and sad to me that we have debased the imagination since the Enlightenment, when reason, quantification and measurement became the gold standards for defining the real. Then, with the Romantics, of which Freud and Jung and later James Hillman and Marion Woodman, Marie-Louise von Franz and others are inheritors, a swing back to imagining became a valid way of knowing. The arts, myths, poetry, literature are all ways into that deeper plane of living, of being in touch with what Campbell called the Transcendent. In fact he believed that myth’s purpose was to move us to a place–a rich journey–  individual would become transparent to transcendence. I think that this is where mythology leads us, as he also believed:

    First, Campbell wrote, there is the literal; behind it is the mythical; and behind IT is the mystical, what cannot be spoken but can be experienced. So myths are pointers to that transcendent realm, the realm of the mystic, which I believe is available to all of us. I find that exciting experience when I read and contemplate classics of literature. I think one of the most mystical epics I have ever read is Melville’s Moby-Dick, published in 1851 when Melville was only 32! Such a genius.

    To your last question: Are these all the Sufi’s imagined states? I think that imagined state is the territory of the most real of human/divine experiences, and is in fact the goal or destiny of the 100 cantos that Dante wrote in his Commedia to get to just that place, of the Primal Love that moves the sun, the stars and the created order.

    Thank you for your inspiring writing that led me to contemplate what I just wrote back to you. I hope there is at least of sliver of light in what I wrote. My warm wishes to you, Shaahayda.