Friday, September 18, 2009

Imagination & Visionaries Part One

To try to follow up a bit on the last series of articles on this blog, I thought it would be good to do a bit on Imagination, and women and men who have encountered it with a capital "I." It might be good also, to narrow down what exactly a true visionary is all about. Some would include people like Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, Chairman Mao and others like them as 'visionaries'-in other words not people we would normally associate with the Universal Good. Some would also include Plato, Archimedes, Wittgenstein, Einstein, Cantor, Beethoven, Dostoevsky, and many, many other people of letters, philosophy, music, art and mathematics on this list. However, how many of these people were famous for continually having visions such as William Blake did? William Blake witnessed angels sitting in a tree once and his father beat him for it, showing that encounters with the numinous are not always rewarded. Or how many of these people could envision an entire symphony in their heads at one time like Mozart? The idea I am trying to express is that there is a very blurred boundary between radically original thought, inspiration and the visionary experience. William Blake would be the greatest example of one man who had all three types of experience.

At the other extreme of visionary experience is the set of experiences which are simply psychotic fantasies and hallucinations. There are people in institutions who claim to be the 'real' Queen of England or channeling a superior interstellar race (or "making bank" off the same claim or similar like J.Z. Knight of "Ramtha" fame. There is a long list of serial killers who claim to have been directed by God or a higher power. Perhaps we need to draw a line between people who have mental problems and psychotic episodes who are harmless and full-blown psychotics like Hitler, Stalin, LBJ and Richard Nixon to name a few! The psychopaths and sociopaths among us can have truly horrible effects on our lives but by far most of the people who suffer from extreme mental illness live a "pinched reality as ghosts" to paraphrase Richard Grossinger.

Cultural analysts have tried to work out the demarcation zones between visionary madness and visionary genius with equal intensity, although with less forensically certifiable results. Forteans and people who study the paranormal naturally want to observe the ambiguities and uniqueness of the latter. Forteans and paranormal researchers must always be on guard for people with malice, gullibility, chicanery, egoism-and so on and so forth in their sources hearts, whether primary or secondary. The difficulty of analyzing any one visionary experience is that literally anyone can have one. A person can be entranced by UFOs, the voice of God, glimpses of fairies or the Good Folk, and even encounters with a "Blue Lady" or Bloody Mary. This does not mean that their experiences show some great truth and it certainly doesn't mean they are "nutcases" either. However, a fundamental relationship of this maxim always follows: when reliable witnesses, upright citizens and "trained observers" testify to experiencing apparently strange, bizarre and wholly "other" phenomena, their sober, sane and valuable lives are equally no automatic indicator of the truth of what they report. But if enough people undergo sufficiently similar experiences of a strange nature, the stories, or the creatures in them, acquire a kind of objectivity through repetition.

This is how the archetypes of UFOs, pixies, fairies, the Blessed Virgin Mary encounters, Bigfoot (feet:), angels, ghosts, sea monsters, cryptids, gray aliens and so on come to be. Inevitably these stories-myths and folklore by any other name-in due course begin to mold and "speak" the unique language of the experiences themselves. A woman's "angel" could easily become Billy Meier's "Semjase" in other words one person's hallucination is another person's alien. Ghosts and hauntings may very well in some cases involve visionary type experiences but that field of study has other and enormous possibilities (one of which is the nature of the human 'soul' after death.) For the time being maybe we should keep to two aspects of visions: what appears in them, and their observable objectivity or "realness."

How can we separate the observer from the observed? Of course, modern physics tells us that YOU CAN'T-there is no conceivable way to ever separate the observer from the observed. This isn't a maybe of modern physics-it is a law. This law has limiting factors such as the wavelength of light that we will never get around. In other words the more we look at the world/universe, the more it appears to be a seamless whole. The funny thing is that materialist science chooses to ignore the deep philosophical implications of their own discoveries. Before recorded history word of mouth or storytelling was the only way to transmit a lot of information. This relied heavily on memory. If the information was forgotten or remembered wrong that was that. To be continued...


Autumnforest said...

Wow! You have me thinking about so many things. One person's reality becomes another person's fantasy. One might hear voices in his head and think he's hearing God, another might hear voices in his head and know that his brain is malfunctioning with schizoaffective disorder. What I love about human beings is that you can take 10 people experiencing the same event and hear 10 different experiences. I used to play a game with my son to teach him "mental hygiene." We'd encounter someone in a grumpy mood and I'd have him tell me 15 reasons why the man might be grumpy (rather than attributing to himself automatically). He realized that he can never know what motivates another person, there are too many possibilities including mental illness, life experiences, a bad day, hormones, et cetera. One thing that's hard about living in society is that we immediately "pasteurize" everyone. We're milked down into what is "normal" and what isn't. Some people have big personalities, lots of energy, bad moods, anxieties, but that's all variations of being human, as are religiosity, visions, and savants. The key is to let people be every flavorful variety that they come in. It's not how you see the world, it's what you do with how you see the world. A scientist could take his brillance and build a bomb or cure cancer. Even Ex-Pres Bush has a place in the world (to make us frustrated enough to elect a president with actual character and intelligence and to forever fear conservatives nincompoops). :-)

foam said...

wow, this looks like a fascinating topic.
can't wait to

Devin said...

Autumnforest-thanks so much for your thoughtful comments tonight!! I can't believe I am still up -going on 27 hours now haha-I love what you say about the game with 10 different people and you get 10 different versions of reality!! I really really enjoyed what you said about how its what you do with how you see the world that counts!! great thoughts all around-again so appreciate you stopping by-i probably should have waited to answer this when I wasn't so tired but dont think I will be online tomorrow so I wanted to get your and other comments here-best to you and your family as always-and hope to see you at one of our blogs soon!!

I hope I can do this topic so it isnt boring foam-Xdell left a great comment on the post below and his added to Autumnforests maybe I could add to what some of my thoughts are-I dont know how fast this will go-going to try to work on something here by monday or sunday maybe if i am lucky!! best to you as always and have a beautiful weekend!!

Alex Robinson said...

Hi Devin
Thanks for these posts & thanks also for moving bloody Mary of the centre stage :)

The fortean snippets were intriguing indeed - I've been to Bosworth Field but nothing showed up in my pics - maybe that's a good thing :)
A book I'm reading at the moment uses science to suggest/prove that our brains create all sorts of illusions that seem completely real to us - my mind remains questioning, but some points are very interesting.

We still understand so little, altho' I'm of the present opinion that science is only studying a portion of this world & therefore their data will always be only a percentage of any truth - I have wondered if science actually came about BECAUSE the ethereal was denied, a kind of artificially inseminated outcome forced into existence by the closing the doors to other worlds.

I hope you are very well & enjoying cooler weather, perhaps even some rain :)

Devin said...

Alex-thanks so very much for your input here! Hopefully there will be a bit more today-waiting still a bit for the weather to change:-)man some rain sure does sound nice! Science it seems always attempts to nullify any result in any field of study it doesn't like -or would rather not think about-hopefully a bit in the future i can do some articles on an alternative theory to the Big Bang and the reaction from science to this idea -it is as if the "big bang" theory is LAW-best to you as always Alex and I hope you are going to have a beautiful week-I know it is already Monday where you are!!