"...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, September 26, 2013

Volume 1 is NOT out of print...

"I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker online because it works."

amazon tells us that the volume is only available used for $900... which seems a bit excessive and is in any case not true (if anyone wants to buy my copy for $700 I'd be happy to oblige) - the publisher will be sending them more shortly. This book keeps selling, albeit slowly, and will be due for another (3rd?) print run soon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Corbin in Utah - November 2013

Reality at White Heat
Towards a Concrete Imagination
Tom Cheetham

November 15 & 16, 2013

The exercise of the creative imagination is the foundation of our freedom. It is the primary means by which we escape the relentless and perpetual tendency of the civilized mind to drive us towards regimentation, simplicity and stasis. In the absence of a dedicated practice of the imagination the structures of society and the habituation of thought and experience cut us off from the wild and life-giving fecundity that bursts out all around us. Imagination, properly understood, is neither vague nor abstract. It is precise, profoundly practical and embodied. The anthropologist Paul Radin said that the concrete common sense characteristic of aboriginal people is a clear headed tough-mindedness that “leads to a recognition of all types of realities, realities which primitive man sees in all their directness and ruggedness, stripped of all that false and sentimental haze so universal among civilized peoples.” They live continually in the white heat of reality. Stanley Diamond has said that this archaic sense of total immersion in the full range of being is common to the peoples of non-technological cultures, to artists and to mystics. They share a heightened awareness of the uniqueness of the individual thing which “commands a focus on the singularity of the object to such a degree that everything seems at once marvellous, strange, familiar and unexpected. No category can exhaust such an object; it saturates the perceiving subject.” The artist shares a focus on the individual object with the ordinary man, “but for him the object has become incandescent. He is perpetually recovering his primitivism.” This experience of plenitude lies at the root of all our perceptions.

The experience of the “saturated object” (Marion) and the need for a perpetual recovery of the full range of our experience of the world occupy a central place in the account of the imagination that we will develop in these lectures and workshops. On one reading, a saturated object has the function of an icon, and we will begin with an account of the theology of the icon provided by Henry Corbin, one of the 20th century’s great scholars and philosophers of the imagination. Corbin was a colleague of C.G. Jung and a major figure at the Eranos Conferences for nearly three decades. His works have had a broad and and continuing influence on writers and artists worldwide.

We will expand our exploration by considering and developing various understandings of creative imagination in the works of Corbin, Jung and James Hillman. Our aim will be to recapture the reality of our world through as expansive and active an exercise of the imagination as possible.

Friday Evening Lecture: “Your Autonomy is a Fiction” - Henry Corbin On Being Human
Saturday Lecture/Workshop: Imaginal Love

Suggested Reading:
Tom Cheetham, All the World An Icon: Henry Corbin & the Angelic Function of Beings
Henry Corbin, Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of In ‘Arabi
James Hillman, Archetypal Psychology: A Brief Account
--------------------, Re-Visioning Psychology

Tom Cheetham, Ph.D, holds degrees in philosophy and biology. He is the author of four books on Henry Corbin and the implications of his work for our understanding of ourselves and the world; the most recent is All the World an Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings (2012, North Atlantic Books). He compiled the Bibliography of Archetypal Psychology for James Hillman’s Archetypal Psychology: A Brief Account and is editing On Melancholy, a collection of Hillman’s seminars on the meaning of depression in modern society. He lectures frequently in Europe and the US. He and his wife have two grown children and live in rural Maine.