Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Healing our Imagination

I read Patrick Jasper Lee's observation that, as humans, we are comprised of both the factual and the imaginative, in June shortly after the episode with Richard Dawkins; so even though Lee is discussing this issue broadly with his narrow focus on shamanic journeying and the 'truth' of the experiences, I couldn't help but think about his words in relation to fairy tales and the truths we find within them...

"As already mentioned, before the dawning of the scientific age, in the last few centuries, and when it was not so important to think quite so geographically, the imagination was not considered to be such a confusing issue, but it has now been suppressed for so very long, we have completely forgotten its capabilities; our relationship with our imagination has changed because our relationship with ourselves has changed. We really have no option but to study the imagination - with a view to understanding the Otherworld - with our present understanding of science. And the Romani shamanic way can provide us with a few clever guidelines for tackling this seemingly strange idea."

"We are all affected by the creative imagination, no matter how logical we might consider ourselves to be, no matter how imaginative we might consider ourselves to be. The imagination exists, just as a fact exists. We use it unconsciously throughout much of the day. The only difference between fact and the imagination is that we do not need to prove that the imagination exists. It is actually something we can't prove and yet we can all agree that we can all choose to use it, for good or ill."

"We need now to be thinking of the health of our imagination. It is such a strong part of us that where it lies dormant we are in danger of losing much of our self-confidence and our self-belief. And that is most uncomfortable to live with."

"Generally, we need to begin questioning ourselves rather more frankly where the imagination is concerned and we certainly need to start opening our minds to the possibility of seeing the imagination as a field in its own right, worthy of considerable exploration. The imagination must no longer be thought of as ineffectual, artificial or unreal. All of the greatest scientific inventions we have in our world today began with the imagination, as did all the greatest works of art and everything we use. Even the chair you are sitting in began in someone's mind before it was brought to the drawing board!"

"We need radical changes for any revolution to take place and for some there is no doubt that the imagination will prove to be a very scary, unpredictable world at first. But we must always that it hasn't been used properly for such an extraordinarily long time that it will have to be oiled again, its creative process trusted and its existence seen as something sacred, rather than something that is just a nuisance. Without doubt, consideration of the imagination as a healing tool must feature somehow on the next rung of the ladder of human development."

Patrick Jasper Lee, We Borrow the Earth: An Intimate Portrait of the Gypsy Shamanic Tradition and Culture (London: Thorsons, 2000), 302-305.
Images from ArtMagick. Hover over images for title, artist and date.

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