Reply To: The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is Within Reach,” with Dennis Slattery, Ph.D”
Dear Dr. Slattery,
“A mythological image is one that evokes and directs psychological energy. It is an energy-evoking and energy-directing sign. A mythology is a system of affect or emotional images; these representations themselves produce this emotion or affect.”
Your essay and Stephen’s nuggets surely evoked psychological energy. A friend once asked, “ When is it that you had a truly good conversation, or in whose company do you have a truly good conversation?” I did not have to think hard and long, because only a week ago, I had had a wonderful conversation with Marianne, and a few days later a number of rich and resourceful text messages from James and Stephen. Moreover all the MYTHBLAST essays in some form or another are the rich soil through which our conversation grows. Jcf.org is that place where I have engaged in good conversations, and in a good conversation, you are not judged, you are engaged. So, thank you Dr. Slattery for enriching our lives, and allowing us to express and engage with you here.
When I sat down to write, I only wanted to ask you to elaborate the importance of imagination in living our lives. If we had chosen a certain path in life, using our imagination, would not our lives be entirely different? Perhaps, a different or better career, a fine soul-mate, great friends, a rich love life? But yes, our environment, family and friends, teachers and peers, did step in to alter what we had internally imagined. Our deepest inmost thoughts were never realized, just imagined. So many inhibitions and societal constraints derailed that imagination train.
Right now, I have a simple question based on what I have read and heard of imagination. Possibilities are like imaginations, and let’s say, out of 5 possibilities, I achieve 1, that one becomes a fact, then what happens to the other 4? Do these possibilities or our fond imaginations somehow lurk around, and keep us hopping and hoping until one other possibility becomes a fact too? Or do they all remain unrealized as happens often in unrequited love?
Additionally I thought of your words, especially, “Truly a marvelous quality in being human: to be able to imagine worlds that exist, but on a different plane of reality than our quotidian lives inhabit.” Then “worlds existing on a different plane” led me to think of Mystics and Shamans, and is it not the mystic’s imagination that helps him see god in all things? Imagination is the ground on which people have spiritual experiences. Julian of Norwich comes to mind, who because of her spiritual experience and mystic trance experienced god’s love. In “Revelations of Divine Love in Sixteen Showings”, we find Julian’s most famous quotation: “Would you learn to see clearly your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Learn it well: Love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. Why did he show it to you? For love. Thus, I was taught that Love was our Lord’s meaning.” God is LOVE, Period, according to Julian.
Similarly, a Sufi mystic Idries Shah (1924-1996) refers to Sufism as ‘THE PATH OF THE SUFI”, not a specific religion or some form of spiritual practice related to Islam. He writes that a “Sufi is known as a seeker, the drunken, the lover, the dervish, the fqkir( the poor homeless ) Kalandar (a person who has excelled in seeing things and imagining things)” Are these all the Sufi’s imagined states?
It’s said that one of the things that has been neglected in our present day world, is the imagination of God, not the good will or mercy of God. Would love to hear your thoughts on all the above, or just one, if you have time.
Thank you very much.