Posted on Dec 26th, 2008 by Marmalade
I’ve been repeatedly mentioning several authors in my recent blogs. While I’m at it, I want to bring in two other authors that I haven’t mentioned in a while.
The two other authors are George P. Hansen and Patrick Harpur. I wrote about them when I was thinking about the paranormal and they influenced my ideas in my blog about the Enactivism Symposium. I was thinking about these two specifically in reference to Victoria Nelson and Eric G. Wilson.
The connection might not be obvious even for some strange person who spent their time closely reading my blog. Hansen and Harpur write about the relationship between “reality” and the paranormal. Nelson and Wilson write about the relationship between culture and religion. The connection between them revolves around the mythological and the archetypal.
There is a reason I wanted to bring in Hansen and Harpur. They both speak to what the spiritual means in terms of our actual experience and our attempt to objectively know reality. I admire the insight of Nelson and Wilson, but speaking in terms of culture can put a distance to the ideas. Wilson does resonate with my personal experience fairly well. The main limitation to his writing is that he is so focused on certain traditions… even if they’re traditions that I’m attracted to.
Harpur, maybe more than any of them, has helped me to understand what exists beyond our physical senses and rational knowledge. The concept of the imaginal is centrally important to me. It gives a point of reference to understand where both atheists and theists can go wrong in their beliefs. The imaginal also gives a point in between story and reality, the source of mythology.
Harpur refers to Hillman’s polytheistic psyche, and Hillman would be opposed to Campbell’s Monomyth. I, however, don’t feel certain of any conflict. There is an autonomy of archetypes that can’t be unified in a simple manner, but neither are archetypes exactly like Platonic ideals. Still, archetypes are all related. I’d even argue that archetypes are primarily relational before anything else. Its this relational dimension that grounds archetypes in stories. Also, for whatever its worth, it brings to my mind the Buddhist notion of dependent co-arising.
I’m starting to confuse myself. That is fine. I’m sure it all makes sense somehow.
Tagged with: George P. Hansen, Patrick Harpur, Victoria Nelson, Eric G. Wilson, imaginal, archetypes, religion, mythology, story