"...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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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Modern Gnostic

Philip K. Dick, Sci-Fi Philosopher, Part 3

This is a clear and incisive essay on the meaning and the dangers of a certain kind of Gnosticism, elements of which are clearly displayed in the contemporary world, perhaps particularly in the US. Thinking about these issues seems to me to be of some importance when considering the significance of Corbin's work.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmpf. An unfortunate hatchet job on PKD by Critchley, who appears to be more interested in promoting the tragically flawed interpretation of "Gnosticism" espoused by his mentor, Hans Jonas (and, by association, his own status as "Hans Jonas professor of philosophy").

    We are fortunate, since Nag Hammadhi, etc, to be able to judge the so-called "Gnostics" on their own merits and flaws, rather than leaning on the on the dis-informative, out-of-context excerpts "interpreted" (sometimes even dizzily "spun") by the State-sanctioned Fathers of the Church.

    The real danger, as I'm sure you are quite acutely conscious, is that, particularly in the US, there are few genuine pathways to guide those whose microcosm is experentially unfolding into identification with the macrocosm. There are quite a few of us here who, much like PKD, have our own stack of notebooks filled with our own visions and delusions and pseudepigraphic wanderings. Most of us don't keep blogs, nor do we have publishing contracts or enjoy State-sanctioned professorships.

    Perhaps its a shame that PKD and "Gnosticism" are getting such narrow-minded press. Yet, if it inspires others to go out and "find out for themselves" -- the only real gnostic secret -- so much the better.

    Thanks again for keeping Corbin's work alive and visible. His masterful handling of the matters at hand greatly aided my understanding and propelled my deep appreciation for the Perennial Wisdom linking all paths.