To Think, is to Imagine
“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.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“I Imagine, therefore I am“. With Imagination, we perceive and connect phenomena within the World Content. Owen Barfield clarified that “images” must be distinguished from mere “things” if we are to begin re-remembering this Primary Imagination: “things” are representations which only relate abstract quantitative properties of phenomena, while “images” convey the fullness and richness of interiority.
The person who perceives the tree as an image will also see its flowing transformations across time; its growth and decay; its relation to other living images nearby; the meaning of its trunk leading to branches, twigs, and leaves; the uses of the tree for humans, and many other richly meaningful qualities. The imaginative thinker will eventually perceive the entire Cosmos from the tree, as William Blake perceived in a grain of sand, but without losing the resolution born of Imagining its essence through carefully.
So how do we begin rebirthing this Imagination from within? We should treat it as a delicate seed to be cherished, cared after, and nourished, making every attempt to perceive all World Content by way of images rather than dry verbal intellect. The next time you have a thought, think it again except without sounding out any words. Use only images and, once you grab hold of their inner meaning, hold tight and let the visual structure of the images dissolve as well. Then we come to presently re-member what only appears as fragments of a long-forgotten past; to re-cognize exactly who we were, who we are, and who we are destined to be.
An excerpt from the article, Participating in the World with Imagination.
Ashvin Pandurangi is a writer of essays on mythology, aesthetics, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality with a deep and holistic appreciation of the cultural traditions across the world and epochs of human history.