"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

James Hillman on Jung, The Red Book & Active Imagination

I've not seen this yet, but a two and half hour lecture that Hillman delivered at Pacifica Graduate Institute in December 2009 is available on DVD through Depth Video here. I have a note from a colleague as follows: "Did you get to see the DVD of Hillman's recent talk at Pacifica on the Red Book?  You are one of the few writers he quotes during his long lecture on the Red Book." Needless to say I am flattered & delighted. Hillman was among the first people to read the draft of my first book on Corbin and has been a source of encouragement and support for many years. I am deeply grateful to him. He has said that the three founding figures of his archetypal psychology are Freud, Jung and Henry Corbin. 

The description of the lecture is as follows:

The emergence of C.G. Jung’s Red Book from years of storage in a Swiss vault has re-kindled interest in active imagination. This method of self-exploration involves actively engaging one’s own imagination in dialogue, through writing, art, or the spoken word.

In this 3-hour DVD, James Hillman —noted author, psychologist, and the first Director of Studies at the Jung Institute in Zurich — introduces the method and delves deeply into the therapeutic value it offers in an increasingly noisy and demanding world.

Hillman considers the history and theory of active imagination in Jung, its relationship to making art, and offers examples for scrutiny and discussion. He discusses the fear of inviting demons and opening wounds, and addresses the difference between the voices of inner figures and auditory hallucinations. The major re-examination of Jung’s original ideas and inspiration doesn’t stop there, though. Hillman goes on to examine the role of imagination in contemporary culture, and whether imagination itself might need re-imagining.

Hillman’s seminar was taped December 9, 2009, in front of a sold-out audience at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.

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