"...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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Monday, April 9, 2012

Toward a Holistic Technology

This monumental volume is surely entirely unique in the world of practical hydrology and engineering. The introductory sections on the "technocratic" way of thinking versus Wisdom include references to and quotations from Heidegger, Corbin, Nasr and others whose very existence is unknown to many of the usual readers of such a volume. The author's vision of how technology might be used to contribute wisely to a more just and sustainable world is compelling, inclusive and of the utmost importance. It reminds me in significant ways of Christopher Alexander's life-work in architecture, with a similar vision of how technology and science must be understood in a broad context which is perhaps first adumbrated by Husserl's conception of phenomenology, and that must include the perspectives of the great wisdom traditions of the world. It is not often that Henry Corbin's name appears in the Bibliography of such a work, and I commend the authors for their insight and audacity, and the hope and vision with which they engage in their crucial work.

Flood Risk and Social Justice
From Quantitative to Qualitative Flood Risk Assessment and Mitigation
 Zoran Vojinovic and Michael B. Abbott

"It is argued that the present ‘flood management’ practice should be largely replaced by the social justice approach where particular attention is given to deciding what is the right thing to do within a much wider context. Thus it insists upon the validity of modes of human understanding which cannot be addressed within the limited context of modern science."

Zoran Vojinovic is Associate Professor at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands, with almost 20 years of consulting and research experience in various aspects of water industry in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Europe, Central/South America and the Caribbean.  

Michael B. Abbott is Emeritus Professor at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands, and a Director of the European Institute for Industrial Leadership in Brussels. He founded and developed the disciplines of Computational Hydraulics and Hydroinformatics and co-founded, the Journal of Hydroinformatics with Professor Roger Falconer.

Epilogue: Flood Risk and Social Justice

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