Imagination and experience

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.
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Renovation

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

Nature’s imagination

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

Do you mind?

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)

Continue reading Do you mind?

Enough already

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)