"...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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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Complexity and the Implicate Order

Bohm-Prigogine Centenary Conference
24th June 2017

Professor Peter Allen, Dr. Vasilieios Basios, Professor Basil Hiley
Chairs: David Lorimer, Bernard Carr

Venue address: Christopher Ingold Building, XLG2 Auditorium, UCL, Gordon Street, London WC1E 6BT

2017 marks the centenary of two of the most creative scientists of the 20th century, Prof David Bohm FRS (1917 – 1992) and Prof Vicomte Ilya Prigogine (1917 – 2004). Both men thought out-of-the-box, and introduced new and influential concepts that have had a wide reach outside their specialist fields. The Network arranged a weekend of dialogue with David Bohm in 1988, and a day with Ilya Prigogine in 1995, which was attended by more than 400 people. Both were Honorary Members. Addressed by experts who worked closely with both men, this centenary conference will consider their legacies and the extensive influence, showing how their ideas still shape our thinking.

Ilya Prigogine was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977 for his work on self-organising systems and dissipative structures. Open systems try to maintain their existing dynamics by absorbing and adapting to external perturbations. We see this in our own lives when, after an illness, we try to ‘get back to normal’. We tend to resume our previous lifestyle, even if this was a contributory factor to our illness. If, however, the impact of the event is sufficiently great (as in a near-death experience) it reconfigures the whole system in a life-changing new dynamic. We literally become new people.

David Bohm’s work is key in at least two respects: the first is his distinction between what he called the implicate and the explicate orders. The implicate order is characterised by dynamic wholeness in flowing movement, while the explicate (literally unfolded as opposed to enfolded) shows us separation. For Bohm, implicate wholeness is primary and explicate separation is derived from it. The second aspect is his use of dialogue an exploratory process. Here, as with Bohm’s own dialogues with Krishnamurti, participants suspend their assumptions and engage in an open process of mutual exploration. If we applied such an approach to complex international negotiations where each party comes from a fixed position defined by their separate interests, outcomes might be very different.

So the processes of self-organisation in complex systems, new order arising out of chaos and an open process of dialogue have important implications for our individual and collective futures. We hope you can join us for what promises to be a memorable day.

We very much regret that David Peat is unable to join us for health reasons but we are working on being able to show some clips of him speaking about David Bohm and Bohm speaking with Krishnamurti.

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