Imaginative Knowledge

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” — Albert Einstein, Cosmic Religion

“…If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character. the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again” — William Blake, There is NO Natural Religion, 1788

Ultimately to effect social transformation, it is never a question of having “the proper analysis” so much as it is having the most creative and fecund imagination. For that is Genesis, whereas analysis, without creativity, belongs to nihilism and leads back to the Void. Analysis, by itself, tells us only that life, the universe, and everything is meaningless, pointless, and purposeless.  The creative imagination, however, perceives otherwise.

Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it. In war it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting labour, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long day’s work with disgust and must continually tremble for their poor rations. … It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man’s blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labour and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.” — Albert Einstein, quote from a speech to students at the California Institute of Technology, in “Einstein Sees Lack in Applying Science”, The New York Times (16 February 1931).

It is peculiar (to say the least) that a man will hold Einstein in esteem as having been a genius; but that this same man will dis-esteem William Blake as having been a lunatic or insane. Yet in many ways they shared identical views of the primacy of the imagination. That man is like Nietzsche’s “Last Man”, incapable (or unwilling) to cross over the bridge from the “all-too-human” of “common sense” to the transhuman of uncommon sense. And that compartmentalisation of the mind is, as far as I’m concerned, the real insanity.

“I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one ?” — Albert Einstein, Cosmic Religion

“Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me:
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always, may God us keep
From single vision and Newton’s sleep!”
– William Blake, Letter to Thomas Butts, 1802

Both these statements pertain to the holistic vision and the integral consciousness. The Global Era now aborning is the imaginative concretion or “presentiation” (in Jean Gebser’s terms) of the integral consciousness in process of “irruption,” or of being presently instantiated. The reactionary mind is the mind that refuses to open the doors of perception and fully enter into this new Era and this new consciousness.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13)

A pretty apt characterisation of the reactionary mentality as it functioned in Jesus’ day, too. But also another instance of that strange recurrent parallelism between Nietzsche’s philosophy and the teachings of Jesus; for just as the “scribes and Pharisees” shut up the kingdom, and refuse to enter it themselves, so Nietzsche’s “last man” also tries to prevent others, and forbids himself also, to cross over the bridge to the transhuman. In Buddhism, this is also the parable of “the raft”.

(I found this essay on the fourfold vision on the internet by someone named Neil Goddard. It’s a decent interpretation that you might find helpful).

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17 responses to “Imaginative Knowledge”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    Another outstanding and illuminating article. I can relate to this article in so many ways that is mind-boggling. And I haven’t yet even read through the link to Nietzsche’s “Last Man.” Specifically, I mean I can relate to the phrase “Poetic or Prophetic character”, and also the remarkable enlightening essay on the “fourfold vision.”

    First, this is why I can relate to the phrase “Poetic or Prophetic character.” Many years ago, for some reason I cannot quite understand, I began to write poetry. I cannot make the conjecture that the things I was infatuated with (including this one girl) were the source of my poems, because some of those infatuations have existed during other periods of my life, yet, they never led to any sort of literary or other creative outcome. It was just this truly spontaneous period of irresistible urge to write poems that overcame me and I wrote poem after poem after poem — and kept not one of them. Had I kept them all they would easily fill a 150 to 200 page book. They were mostly about nature itself, and love, and very few even about politics. The urge to write the poems would almost always make itself known during some evening hour, and I would stop whatever I was doing, pick up a pen, and write the words that would come to my mind from what ruly felt the depths of the universe. Occasionally, the urge would come during early hours of the morning about 1:00 or 2:00am, in which case I would get up, turn on the light in my bedroom, and begin to write the poem. It was a remarkable feeling. I could even “see” in the eye of my mind this connection that stretched and disappeared in the depths of the universe whence all those words flowed from. This bout with poetry, which lasted some 7 to 8 months, had three main characteristics. First, the time to write the poems was not determined by me, but the feeling to write would arrive like a tsunami and I would begin to write. Second, the length of each poem was never less than a quatrain and never more than a few verses longer. I would make no decision on the esthetics of the poem, but when it was finished, it was as if it would scream at me that it was finished and I could feel a joyous sensation of completing yet another task for which the only reward was the sense of accomplishing and completing the task itself. The third characteristic, which is related to the “Poetic or Prophetic character” happened only once. One late night, I was lying down in my bed to sleep but I couldn’t. Instead, my eyes continued to stare at the ceiling in the dark of the night. Suddenly, a phrase made up of three words came to my mind. I didn’t think much of the phrase, because by itself it didn’t carry any discernible meaning. But the next evening, during another session of writing a poem, that phrase made a perfect match for the ending of one of the verses in the poem. It is as if at some subconscious level, all those poems were already written, and on that occasion only, and the night before, I had had a glimpse of a small piece of the poem that I would be writing that next evening. So, even though my poems were never about foretelling the future, but that one instance of a piece of the poem arriving much sooner than the rest of the poem was quite surprising to me. It’s as if the poems had the life of their own. Just like when an animal that might come and hang around one’s residence for a while before disappearing, those poems too seemed to have found me for a while, and after hanging around and making themselves known to me for some time, they disappeared into the infinite consciousness of the universe again.

    Second, I could also relate to Neil Goddard’s description of the meaning of the twofold vision. For example, life seems like a river to me. In another example, among my colleagues, there’s a female who, in my mind, symbolizes ‘power’ (pretty much like the persona of the drunken sailor passed out in Blake’s garden symbolizing the potential death of Blake’s creative power). Although, I have never told my female colleague of this impression she has made on me, her powerful physique, her bombastic manner of self expression, and her intelligence, exude power. Long before she got herself into trouble, I could see it coming by identifying the main objective of her life as one that is meant to teach her how to control ‘power.’ Her not having learned that lesson yet indeed cost her livelihood. I have no doubt she will survive the loss triumphantly, though, and one day she will learn to manage all that power. My own life, on the other hand, symbolizes the very opposite: how to achieve power from a position of nothingness – while preserving integrity. Because without integrity, it’s actually quite easy to gain power. Pretty much like an assassin who would do anything for a price.

    The reference to Goddard’s work reminded me of a remarkable and wonderful book you often used to talk about, Scott, which I now have it, and also which I have not yeat read: Carl Jung’s “Man and His Symbols.” I cannot wait until I get started on that one.

    • Scott Preston says :

      By the sounds of it, LittleBigMan, you’re in a prime situation to understand what Seth means by spontaneity and impulse, as well as Blake. Since you’re read The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, you might recall, also, the “memorable fancy” when a devil confronts an angel and berates him for false beliefs: “I tell you, no virtue can exist without breaking these ten commandments. Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules.”

      (One might think it odd that a devil is defending Jesus against an angel, but Blake — as I’m sure you know — held that the “angels” were actually reactionary “law & order” types — all morality and rules; all that which Nietzsche might describe as “will to power” disguised as piety, righteousness, sanctity, humility. In another “memorable fancy” Blake describes his mental combat with just such an “angel” who tried to manipulate his perception with “Aristotle’s Analytics”. This is something Blake faulted in Swedenborg — that Swedenborg was too gullible in accepting the “angels” at face value. Blake’s “metaphysics”, in that sense, are quite radical and revolutionary. Nothing less than overturning the entirety of the conventional understanding of ‘morality’ in very much the same way as Nietzsche attempted — a revaluation of values. For that is what the “angels” and “devils” are, in Blake — living values personified (or what Jung would call ‘archetypes’).

      Jung’s Man and his Symbols was the first book I read, as a teenager, that nudged me off the banal course of social ‘normalcy’ that I had already begun to feel was completely abnormal and pathetic. Seth spoke highly of Jung, while acknowledging the shortcomings of his understanding. Still, Jung was one of the great visionaries. His greatest legacy being — that he may have been one of the first integralists and true universalists. He worked to bring all the world’s wisdom traditions into relationship with each other — a real pioneer of the global era, in that sense. For, also in a sense, that effort was an attempt to disclose an holistic, ecological, universal history of the human experience. He worked very hard to correlate and harmonise the entirety of human spiritual experience as a global whole.

      It’s this attempt at correlation that reactionaries today dismiss as “relativism”, with their typical blinkered and myopic perspectivism. It’s better described, perhaps, as relationalism. But such relationalism requires a higher, more noble understanding than the vulgar-minded can achieve, presently. And, in fact, one of the chief objectives of the vulgar-minded and the reactionary currently is to destroy the entire principle of “universality”. Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” is one such effort. There are many others afoot, sometimes disguised as being something else than they are.

      No true universality can be achieved without an appreciation of our shared, common mortality. This is the only authentic “common sense” that most people deny. That was one of the most important lessons don Juan gave to Castaneda. Only this recognition of common mortality of all living beings aroused empathy, which alone is true universality. All living beings are equal only in light of our shared mortality, which is dukkha in Buddhism — the principle of “impermanence” or transience. Gurdjieff, I see, tried to teach his students the same thing — all living beings are mortal beings doomed to die, and only this recogntion provides a solid basis for “equality”.

      This is the beginning of wisdom. Nothing else is.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “By the sounds of it, LittleBigMan, you’re in a prime situation to understand what Seth means by spontaneity and impulse, as well as Blake.”

        I do feel that I completely understand what Seth means by spontaneity and impulse — as a source of knowledge or inspiration or a spark that enters our physical reality from the depths of Framework 2. But I have to admit that I do struggle with interpreting the work of Blake if I was left to my own devices. I definitely have to reread his “Marriage of Heaven and Hell” and the editor’s exposition of his renderings. Fortunately, the library at my school has a copy that looks almost to be an antique and has quite lucid interpretations of his wonderful renderings, as well. But the thing is that once the meaning of Blake’s work is laid bare before my eyes, then I can immediately relate to it. It is your work and discussion of the works of these giants and others like them that have opened up for me a great vast garden full of meaning. Meaning I can relate to in the way I have experienced and been influenced by the three dimensional reality.

        “[Jung] worked very hard to correlate and harmonise the entirety of human spiritual experience as a global whole.”

        This will be invaluable for me to keep in mind as I will begin to read Man and His Symbols and other works of Jung. Thank you.

        I was disgusted with Huntington’s oversimplification of “clash of civilizations.” It’s been a while since I read that one, but I remember the whole thing appeared to me as a patchwork of 20 year worth of cutouts from various magazines and newspapers. Even worse, his analysis seemed to equate the actions or consciousness of governments with the consciousness of the people who are ruled by governments. I can’t quite remember if it was John Gray or Howard Zinn who pointed out that governments act as if their will truly is the “will of the people.” and “as if there really is such a thing as the United States” that represents a real unity of purpose among the 300 million or so people who occupy the country. So, if I understand you correctly, Huntington destroyed universality by way of reducing the people of the nations he discussed in his book to the actions, rules, and policies established by a few “Power Elite.” And reactionary in the sense that the decision making process is less integral to the vast numbers who are governed and more exclusive to the few that govern. Hail to Caesar!

        • Scott Preston says :

          Just came across this quote from ibn Arabi (Abdulmonem’s favourite, I believe), and it is pertinent also to Goddard’s commentary on Blake’s fourfold vision: “It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.”

          That “primordial and orginal nature” is also Gebser’s “ever-present origin”, of course (which is just another way of saying “omnipresent” or “Eternal Now”). But it is invoked or identified by various other names. Seth’s “All That Is”, for example. “Buddha Nature” is another.

          Re: Huntington and others of the reactionary bent…. (“bent” being the key word here). The one statement from his Clash of Civilizations that struck me almost dumb, apart from his nostalgia for the Cold War, was his insistence that “Americans needed an enemy by which to define themselves and their identity” (or words to that effect). That was a common theme during the 90s — the cold warriors felt adrift (and possibly their careers and salaries and promotions were at stake) without an Evil Other to justify their existence and serve as their negative mirror image, as it were. (Thomas P.M. Barnett’s obnoxious “mystical militarism” — as I call it — in The Pentagon’s New Map belonged to the same rubbish… something of his views are expressed here in his war primer: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0303-MAR_WARPRIMER

          But, in his book Barnett actually states that a mood of malaise actually settled over the Pentagon after the fall of the USSR because of anxiety about promotions, etc. That was the same anxiety that Huntington, et alia, experienced in academia. Really quite pathetic.

          “In search of enemies” — it’s like the story of The Questing Beast. A brief Wikipedia article on the legend of the Questing Beast puts it rather well: “Having searched fruitlessly all his life for the beast, Pellinore is convinced by his friend Sir Grummore Grummursum to drop his quest. However, when it turns out later that the beast had been pining away for lack of attention, King Pellinore nurses it back to health and resumes his Sisyphean hunt.”

          Interesting that the Beast has been pining away for “lack of attention” (or rather, intention). The Beast needs the questing knight as much as the questing knight needs the Beast. Sort of quixotic — which is another way of saying ‘fool-ish’.

  2. LittleBigMan says :

    I’ve just begun reading excerpts from Nietzsche’s “Last Man”, and talking about the foolishness of needing an enemy for one to advance oneself I came upon this excerpt which is irresistibly funny:

    “Even the wisest among you is only a confusion and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I ask you to become phantoms or plants?” 🙂

    I’ve just begun to learn about Nietzsche’s life. It’s a pity that his sister did so much to betray the legacy of such a great thinker.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Even the wisest among you is only a confusion and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I ask you to become phantoms or plants?

      I’m not entirely sure what Nietzsche meant by that. It reminds me, though, of something Blake wrote — that the “fall of man” occurred when Primal Men “fell on the stems of vegetation”, which might have some connection with the symbol of “the tree of knowledge”. Goethe also had a conception that all living organisms are descended from die Urpflanze — the primordial plant. This is likely what Nietzsche has in mind here, although the persistence of the plant form within us (the vegetative system, as its called) could be the intention in all three cases — Blake, Nietzsche, Goethe. In other respects, Blake’s “stems of vegetation” could be referring to the spinal chord (just a wild surmise, here on my part) as it plays a significant role in kundalini yoga. In Gurdjieff, the flow or rise of kunda (the dragon energy or snake energy) up the spinal column is blocked by what he calls “the kundabuffer”, some mysterious organ at the base of the spine that blocks the flow of energy up through the chakras to the crown chakra. I believe some refer to this “organ” as “the devil’s tail”.

      So, googling up “the devil’s tail” to try to get a picture, I came across this post on “newheavenonearth”. It’s lengthy, and I’ve only scanned a few paragraphs so far, but could provide some insight into Blake’s (et al.) meaning. http://newheavenonearth.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/wings-of-love-in-the-body-temple/

      • tony says :

        “I found this essay on the fourfold vision on the internet by someone named Neil Goddard. It’s a decent interpretation that you might find helpful).”

        Not just a decent interpretation, but an inspiring reminder that we are responsible for our destiny, of untying the knots within our subconscious and freeing ourselves from the burden of fear.
        Excellent posts as always

        • Scott Preston says :

          One of the more interesting statements in Goddard’s text is “But I urge you to practice, practice, and continue to practice, for you are moving into a world where all is Imagination and you will create at will.

          This sense of anticipation of a “new earth” is very pronounced today. Remember one of the slogans of the 1968 uprising in France? “Imagination is seizing power”. Very significant. The same anticipation lies in Gebser’s “irruption” of the integral consciousness, of course, and even in the strangest millenialist enthusiasms of the Mayan calendar “apocalypse 2012” folks. Theodore Roszak (in either The Making of a Counter-culture or Where the Wasteland Ends, can’t recall which) once wrote that the mood of the 60s was a sense of “waiting for something” — the mood that was captured in the play Waiting for Godot, for example. A mood of anticipation — something ending, something beginning. One finds the same thing in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. Something stirring in the depths.

          In other respects, Goddard’s statement is not different from Seth’s ‘you create the reality you know’, except that it will become conscious — we will become conscious of our projections and learn to master them more creatively, more responsibly. That won’t necessarily be a smooth “learning curve”, though. More like being dragged along the jagged edge.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        Just this past week you made an excellent point regarding German and English versions of Jean Gebser’s “Ever Present Origin” (by the way, I now have the book) and that the German version is a more accurate reprentation of Gebser’s thoughts and the “integral consciousness.” I wonder how close the German version of Nietzsche’s comment is to this English version. Because of my as of yet non-existent knowledge of the works of Goethe and Gurdjieff, and my minimal knowledge of Blake, I cannot make any connections to the works of those great thinkers, and my thoughts on the intended meaning of the comment are bound to be purely idiocyncratic and nonconclusive. What I mean is that I view ‘plants’, as fixed organic beings that are not prone to change that easily. On the other hand, ‘phantoms’ are non-organic and anything but fixed, and move and change and illude the imagination by their very definition. So, plants are too focused in the physical realm whereas phantoms lack any focus. But even if these are what Nietzsche intended to mean, I have no clue where he was going with it.

        The very little I have read from Nietzsche also tells me that he had a bit of an humorist of Mark Twain streak in him. So, a part of me speculates that he must have known that the vast majority of his readers would not be very sophisticated at all, and so he may have just used a bit of intriguing humor in that comment to catch his readers’ attention and interest. It certainly had that effect on me 🙂

        • Scott Preston says :

          I have the German edition of the collected works of Nietzsche, and the translation is pretty close: “Wer aber der Weiseste von euch ist, der ist auch nur ein Zwiesplat and Zwitter von Pflanze und von Gespenst. Aber heisse ich euch zu Gespenstern oder Pflanzen werden?” It runs pretty close to the English. “Gespenst”, though, might be closer translated as “ghost”. German “Geist”, which some take as ‘ghost’, actually means “spirit” or “mind” or “intellect”, perhaps — as in the word Zeitgeist — which is the ruling idea or ruling spirit or ruling mood of an age. Blake often personifies the notions of Zeitgeist as being the forms of the Zoas. Urizen is the Zeitgeist of the “Age of Reason”, for example, and therefore the spirit or form of the mental-rational structure of consciousness. Urizen is the God of the Deists, and is equally the same God against which Nietzsche made war.

          Otherwise, I have found very questionable translations of Nietzsche by some interpreters who, as far as I’m concerned, let Nietzsche down. And the upshot of that is that English readers will often get a distorted or perverted understanding if they aren’t on their guard — (intuitively recognising “hey, something doesn’t jibe, here”). Some of it is really perverse. I’ve found the translations of Hollingdale to be quite suspect. A native German speaker who translates Nietzsche would make a better translator, because he would be more sensitive to the highly nuanced and sometimes ironic sense in German that Nietzsche often employs. Walter Kaufmann’s translations are better in that regard, I think, and Kaufmann tries to at least provide some guidance to those places where Nietzsche is employing German in his own unique sense.

          But, nothing can be done about the “vulgar-mindedness” of translators and interpreters who completely mistake Nietzsche for what he was not (something he feared would happen to him, as he states in the first pages of his semi-autobiographical Ecce Homo). A charged word like übermensch has done great mischief when it falls into the wrong hands, having been translated variously as “superman” or “overman” or (in my case) as “transhuman”, which I believe to be the more proper translation of über, which can mean “over” or “across” and pertains to his image of the “bridge” in Zarathustra (that ‘bridge’ can be also interpreted in terms of the Buddha’s parable of the raft, as mentioned earlier). It is said that the Superman comic hero was inspired by Nietzsche’s übermensch, and it that is so, it is a great perversion. Of course, the Nazis had a similar notion of the “superman”. However, reputedly Nietzsche himself thought of Goethe as coming closest to his ideal of the overman, and not the Nazi or comic book version. He’ld be turning in his grave at that. Above all, the overman is the most creative. And this is where we come close to Blake’s notions as well as those issues raised by Neville Goddard about imagination and creativity, as well as Seth — “you create the reality you know”. Thus is the overman “god-like” in that sense. In Nietzsche, creativity is power.

          Another touchy subject in terms of translations is die Umwertung aller Werte, which has been translated into English as “transvaluation of all values” or “revaluation of all values”. The German prefix um- is closer to English word “around”. German Umwelt means the surrounding world, ie, the environment. But in practical terms um- comes close to English re-, so that ‘revaluation’ would be the most accurate rendering (although I prefer “transvaluation” because it’s more in keeping with his movement towards the transhuman or overhuman). Some interpreters, commenters, translators have struggled, it seems, to try to understand Nietzsche’s “method” in this regard — that is, what he meant by the revaluation of all values. That’s quite astonishing to me, actually, since virtually all of Nietzsche’s writing is an experiment in the transvaluation or revaluation of values. This needs to be born in mind. Some of Nietzsche’s writings (and some of the more dubious experiments) are experiments in revaluation and don’t necessarily represent Nietzsche’s final views on anything. They are thought experiments, and often pretty bold and audacious ones, too. (I should say more about this, but this comment is getting pretty long).

          The most important thing to bear in mind in reading Nietzsche, though, is that his “revaluation of values” — his method, as it were — is his application of the method to Christianity. Nietzsche’s philosophy is, in effect, a revaluation of Christian values and that’s why Christian themes keep recurring in Nietzsche (A perplexed R.J. Hollingdale made note of that fact in his introduction to one of his translations without understanding at all what the great “Anti-Christ” was really up to). In that, though, Nietzsche resembles William Blake, who was equally radically opposed to “churchly” Christianity. In fact, Nietzsche’s “aristocratic radicalism” isn’t much different from Blake’s “spiritual radicalism” (as Northrop Frye referred to it). And Nietzsche was also one who pioneered a more global awareness in the sense that he found value in bringing different world value systems into relationship to one another — Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and paganism with European values. And what is his maxim for this? “Be true to the earth, my brothers!” This is the global vision, and Nietzsche was before his time, which is why he is probably the most abused philosopher of all — more abused and misused perhaps than even Karl Marx is.

  3. LittleBigMan says :

    “Walter Kaufmann’s translations are better in that regard, I think, and Kaufmann tries to at least provide some guidance to those places where Nietzsche is employing German in his own unique sense.”

    Yeah! That’s the copy I have. 🙂

    “But, nothing can be done about the “vulgar-mindedness” of translators and interpreters who completely mistake Nietzsche for what he was not (something he feared would happen to him, as he states in the first pages of his semi-autobiographical Ecce Homo)”

    This is one of the most intriguing and consistent lessons I have learned in my own life — that what I fear most happens to me. How bizzare!

    “Thus is the overman “god-like” in that sense. In Nietzsche, creativity is power.”

    I could not agree more. Recently, I did some soul searching and self-evaluating in order to understand if, at this point in my life, I am dedicating myself to the activities, thoughts, and directions that are most worthwhile. After this period of soul searching and trying to re-orient myself in the right direction, I concluded that I need to dedicate more time to more creative endeavors — and that is what’s most missing from my day to day intent. In a way, any life that has overcome the basic matter of the need for food and shelter will definitely need to dedicate itself to creative thinking and acting. It seems to me the quality of life will deteriorate without it.

    “virtually all of Nietzsche’s writing is an experiment in the transvaluation or revaluation of values.”

    That and other of your comments about the work of Nietzsche are enlightening. Reading Nietzsche, Blake, Gebser, Marx, and others is a little intimidating to me. Those comments make these great thinkers more accessible to me. Thank you.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Reading Nietzsche, Blake, Gebser, Marx, and others is a little intimidating to me. Those comments make these great thinkers more accessible to me

      Patience, perseverance and vigilance are key here. Keep in mind Blake’s insight, “anything possible to be believed is an image of the truth”. None of these thinkers are actually that far apart when appreciated from what Gebser might call the “aperspectival” and a nondualist perceptual framework. Marx, for example… you can read him and appreciate him as the last alchemist for whom the problem of revolution follows the same process of the transmutation of lead into gold. Absolutely fantastic enterprise, and it certainly seized the imaginations of millions, even if they didn’t quite reach the same understanding. To a certain extent, such thaumaturgy is the common meaning of all of them, and that alchemy or thaumaturgy is the emancipation of the superior nature of man from the course material of the all-too-human condition. They are, in a sense, all alchemists in that regard.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Let me add something to that last comment on the thaumaturgy of the men under discussion — Nietzsche, Blake, Marx, Gebser.

      It is fairly often the case — and commonly recognised — that an artist seldom sees or knows the significance of his or her own productions, “significance” meaning the overall relationship of the work of art to the milieu in which it is created, that “milieu” here understood in terms of Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” — the entirety of the social situation that includes all past and all future time dimensions, as well as the inner and outer dimensions. In that sense, our milieu comprises the directions or dimensions of the inwards and outwards of the spaces and the backwards and forwards of the times. Hence, we live in a fourfold milieu or a four dimensional reality, in terms of our physical and organic existence. And these terms “physical” and “organic” place the emphasis on our spatial or our temporal existence, respectively. And there is often conflict between those who take one viewpoint or the other, forgetting that we are both physical (spatial) as well as organic (temporal) beings. Usually, this is cast in terms of the “classical” and the “romantic” conflicts. As you can see, its rather ridiculous as we are both spatial/physical and organic/temporal beings. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland — “Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum decided to have a battle…”

      As with the artist, though, so with the philosopher, for that is essentially what these men are — artists. They employ thoughts as a painter employs colours or they use logic as a sculptor employs his chisels. And just as often they do not see the broader significance of their works in terms of their overall milieu. This is where you, as the reader or critic, augment their creativity with your own creativity, for you are able to bring them into relationship in a way that probably would have surprised them had they known. So, reading with an eye to building such relationships is as much a creative act as the actual productions of these philosophers and poets (or, for that matter, bringing their works into relationship with the Seth material, etc). Reading, in that sense, can be an intensely creative effort, and is as much the imaginative expression of “the Poetic Genius” in man as the singular works of these poets and philosophers.

  4. amothman33 says :

    Imaginative knowledge is the faithful knowledge.After all you are not a small kitchen.Thank you Scott you are right Ibn Arabi is my favorite.I enjoyed your idea of adding the reader creativity to the artist creativity to built the relation necessary to appreciate the artist and to realise the self. On the vulgar-minded, of course we can not erase them because they make part of our universe,and the only thing we can do is to be honest-minded ourselves.All the great mind have thaumturgical aspect to their creations ,but the valugar abse them misintrept them ,but even neglect part of their heritage.Marx said false religion is the opum of the people, the valugar omit the false, the same thing with the FALSE god of NEITZECHE.

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