If an innovative interpretation of scripture becomes a revelation to a community, it may then become a scripture in turn. New religious movements can arise from radically new readings of established scripture. Continue reading Radical readings
After the initial basis of a rational life, with a civilized language, has been laid, all productive thought has proceeded either by the poetic insight of artists, or by the imaginative elaboration of schemes of thought capable of utilization as logical premises. In some measure or other, progress is always a transcendence of what is obvious.— Whitehead (1929, 9)
‘Productive thought’ then is bound to be imaginative. But it is an imaginative response to (or reading of) actual experience – not imaginary experience – that is most productive, in science, art and religion.
Continue reading Imagination and experience
What i have called recreation could also be called renovation – as in the ancient Chinese classic The Great Learning. According to this text, ‘the way of learning to be great (or adult education) consists in manifesting the clear character, loving the people, and abiding in the highest good’ (Chan 1963, 86). And according to Ch’eng, a Chinese editor of the text, ‘loving the people’ should be read as ‘renovating the people.’ Continue reading Renovation
Life imitates art. We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us.— John M. Culkin, “A Schoolman’s Guide to Marshall McLuhan” (Saturday Review, 1967)
Every time we introduce a new tool, it always leads to new and unexpected discoveries, because Nature’s imagination is richer than ours.— Freeman Dyson, ‘The Scientist as Rebel’, in Cornwell (ed.), Nature’s Imagination
The process of natural design, it seems, will routinely outrun the imaginings of human theorists.— Clark 1997, 97
As the sole Reader of the Book, you are entrusted with its meaning. Just so, according to Rumi, Adam was entrusted with the naming of all beings, and humanity was entrusted with all creation.
You are an ocean of knowledge hidden in a dew drop, a world concealed in [a few feet] of body.… So man is in form a branch of the world, but in attribute the world’s foundation.… Whatever appears within him is His reflection, like the moon in a stream.… The Prophet said, ‘He who knows himself knows his Lord.’— Rumi (Chittick 1983, 64-5)
Creation is always also destructive – especially if we suppose that the universe is created out of nothing. Talk about disturbing the peace!
And why not let matters rest there? For this way of talking surely says everything we want to say, and everything that can be said. But we wish to say that it can also be put differently; and that is important.— Wittgenstein (1930, 84)
Keats, ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, final stanza:
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
A comment by Arthur Koestler: Continue reading The act of recreation
The word for recreation in Daniel Matt’s translation of Zohar 1.4b-5a is ‘innovation’; an innovated word of wisdom is ‘a new mystical insight, which rises higher than other new interpretations’ of Torah (ZP I.25). Here the meaning cycle takes the form of ascending and descending. Continue reading Interpretation as (re)creation
When a man desires ardently to know the truth, his first effort will be to imagine what that truth can be. He cannot prosecute his pursuit long without finding that imagination unbridled is sure to carry him off the track. Yet nevertheless, it remains true that there is, after all, nothing but imagination that can ever supply him an inkling of the truth. He can stare stupidly at phenomena; but in the absence of imagination they will not connect themselves together in any rational way.— Peirce (CP 1.46, c. 1896)
Philosophy, as the process of inquiry, is a science, a quest for truth. An expression or formulation of a theoretical system, as a product of this process, is an art form, at least from an artistic point of view. Continue reading Truth and Beauty