Lost Knowledge at Golgonooza

Nicholas Colloff has posted some thoughts about Lost Knowledge of the Imagination on his excellent Golgonooza site. Golgonooza was the name William Blake gave to his “city of the imagination.” What better place to get some feedback from about a book that looks at Blake and his fellow students of the “learning of the imagination”? Nicholas knew Kathleen Raine, the poet and Blake scholar whose work was the inspiration for the book, and I imagine he received some of this learning from her first hand. Not all of us are this lucky. But imagination can be remarkably resourceful, especially when directed at itself – as I imagine readers of the book will discover.

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4 thoughts on “Lost Knowledge at Golgonooza

  1. So looking forward to Lost Knowledge of the Imagination! Your work has proven fundamental to my own, I am deeply indebted.
    I came across your books through serendipity – an aspect of magic that has always been with me (books come to me forming themes I can never anticipate), part of what I think can be considered knowledge of the imagination. Magic that is, as a metaphor for opening up the world; one of life’s central thematic answers, allowing us to feel what lies beneath and beyond, to the underlying sympathy between all things, a way to navigate through the chaos.
    Perhaps as proof of this we find its counterpart, what Jung called the central, thematic problems in our lives, ones which are not resolvable, for without them we would stagnate. An example being Sehnsucht, that eternal longing James Hillman felt was archetypal.
    To get back to a sense of aliveness and wonder we need to find personal themes in our lives that are touched with magic; short-hand answers that filter through us in different ways, guides that let us know if we are on the right track. Another being synchronicity – the universe sending us covert messages that, if we pick up on them, lend a hand in helping us navigate the world through experience related by meaning rather than by causation. For me, this has been the persistence of words popping up, often to obscure references, in direct correspondence to what I am working on, a trail of crumbs, as it were.
    As Henri Bortoft wrote, we do not derive concepts from experience, but rather experience is framed by organizing ideas already active in the mind. Not only do we at first gate what objects and experiences we take in, we are also blind to the organizing ideas that place them into context and meaning. By becoming aware of these through magic the world of meaning begins to open up.
    Because of this knowledge of the imagination, if you will, my own work has concentrated on evolving the idea of the Universal Principle of Duality – the fundamental aspects of how physical reality operates. One of the most interesting concepts it generates is the relationship between Gaian Soul and Oversoul. How do we reconcile the idea that we are the universe becoming conscious of itself with that of humanity being a biological aspect of a microbial planet? As Lewis Thomas wrote, the planet is ever evolving ways of replicating itself, from wind pollination to pollinator pollination; we may be human pollinators taking bacteria deeper into space. Understanding that humans are one part of a living Earth that, as a self-organized system, has used its resources to seed itself and is now entering a major phase change into something unknown, with the knowledge that human consciousness is also in a major transition into the unknown. This is not coincidence; that, in fact, humans may be considered the pulse point between Gaian Soul and Oversoul. As Stephen Buhner writes, “Every touch on a self-organized system presents the system with a choice of how to reestablish homeodynamis in response to the perturbation. It urges potential out of the quantum background, out of the dreaming, out of the Ocean of Being.” Human consciousness itself is no different. We must choose to open our hearts and minds, our imagination, to see what will arise from the dreaming.

    1. Dear Ellen, many thanks for sharing these thoughts. I’ve got a great deal out of Henri Bortoft and had the pleasure of meeting him very briefly a few years back. I haven’t read Stephen Buhner, but am aware of his books and will most likely check them out sometime soon. All the best, Gary

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