How to look at Culture Imaginatively I

Use the tools of the imaginative trades - all things. Especially those best suited for an examination of literature, image, sound-music, taste, feel, and whatever sensual metaphor you can think of. Use literary criticism, art and music history and practice, phenomenology, tolerance, the history of ideas (Tarnas), get a feel for poetry, feel from your heart and make aesthetic assessments. Look at the themes and patterns in a person's or a culture's life and life-styles. Get a feel for their desires, hates, goals,

Learn their myths, learn their languages, symbols, images, concepts, body language, what they think of the body, the world, the soul, relationship. Learn the approach of the symbolists as described in the Introduction to CE Cirlot's A Dictionary of Symbols.

Most of all remember: all ways of looking at the world are tautologies. That is, they are logical cul- de-sacs which are sensible only within their hermeneutic circle (and those sufficiently related), but once you step far enough outside that circle of thought-time-perspective, its logic diminishes and even may appear irrational (this is precisely what happened in the ongoing, rationalist-scientific assassination of the religious- aesthetic world-view). This imaginal perspective not only recognizes that it too is subject to its own tautologies, it demands it. For to remain blissfully unaware of the tenousness of each and every imagination including its own, is to risk institutionalizing the imagination.

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Copyright 1997 Marc Fonda. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated: March 5, 1997.