This episode of Living Myth begins with the ancient idea that nothing exists until it passes through imagination. Imagination is not simply a subjective inner capacity; rather, it is a genuine force of life. In this old way of seeing, the increase of conflicts and intensification of hate in the world can be seen as a loss of soul and a lack of genuine imagination.
At a time when modern cultures can be seen to be unraveling and the sense of the shared suffering of humanity so quickly turns into hatred for whoever can be deemed as the “other,” genuine imagination is not just increasingly important, but can be seen as the redeeming factor for both the individual human soul and for human culture as a totality.
Although viewing life in literal terms has become a habit for many, it ultimately gives us a false sense of security and keeps us blind to the knowledge we most need when the world around us keeps changing. In the ancient world, myth could mean emergent truth and mythic imagination was understood to be the primary way in which the human mind and the human heart could connect or reconnect to the universal truths that underlie all of reality.
Lacking a renewed sense of genuine imagination, the modern world will continue to divide and fall apart. For what is missing in most cases is not simply a lack of the resources needed to change things, but a tragic lack of the imagination required to awaken to a greater, more inclusive visions of reality. For, it is the intermediating function of imagination that makes it possible to unite otherwise opposing states, such as the objective and the subjective, religion and science or any pair of antithetical ideologies.
Imagination has always been the unifying force in the human psyche, the inherent function that precedes thought, but also follows the body's inner ways of knowing and being. Imagination is the key that opens us to all that is immeasurable, creative, and healing in life. For that reason, imagination has been called the deepest power of the human psyche.
The power of imagination, which is part of the natural inheritance of each soul, has surprising and indelible capacities for creativity and renewal. By the virtue of imagination, we see with penetrating insights and creative vision, not the delusions of fantasy, but the surprise of revelation. The point is to allow the immediate powers of myth and imagination to give us a poetic grasp of our own lives and the events of the world. Without such a mythic sense, the world becomes increasingly divided and we can become overwhelmed by conflicts both inner and outer. As the collective sense of unity collapses, the uniqueness within each person's soul becomes the essential source of the unifying imagination needed to sustain and renew life.
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