This month’s JCF Mythological Roundtable of Ojai extends a warm welcome to Craig Deininger who will present findings from his dissertation-research and personal forays into the widely misunderstood topic of Imagination. Imagining is conventionally interpreted as an act that arbitrarily invents unreal scenarios. However, there is a reality to these supposed inventions because they are the expressions of genuine structures and energies that exist within the psyche of the imaginer and within the psyche of the world, the anima mundi.
Thanks to our myriad mythmakers and artists, along with scholars like Joseph Campbell, Henry Corbin, Marie-Louise von Franz, Carl Jung and others, invaluable discoveries in this topic have emerged. One way to define imagination is as the practice of perceiving a thing deeply—that is, to perceive beyond the face that an object (be it a person or a stone) shows us, into the intangible energies upon which that face is founded.
Through effective practices and works of imagination like phenomenology, mythology, alchemy, meditation, and art, these deeper, intangible qualities begin to come to life for the perceiver. The key is to imagine in a way that accords the undeniable realities of quotidian life their rightful place in the process. This means that we include rational, objective procedures like empirical observation and evaluation alongside irrational procedures like empathy, faith and intuition without favoring the one or the other. A good many “imagineers,” however, tend to prefer the irrational factors (and present bias should be acknowledged here).
Although there are far too many values to imaginative practices to address here, it is worthy to mention that this is a healing process because one must necessarily explore and cultivate their own deep inner sensibilities if they are to have the ability (the software, so to speak) to enter into the language of the hidden truths of anything other. Furthermore, in light of the precarious condition of present world affairs and the many severe problems that inherently accompany the gifts of our technological advancements, an imaginative understanding of our place and responsibilities in the world is of urgent necessity because it invites entirely new solutions to these very new problems.
Throughout the evening, it is our aim to create an imaginative atmosphere in which we may hear from other imaginations present in the room. What hitherto unforeseen insights this may bring we can only, well, imagine. We look forward to seeing you there. The meeting will be held at the Ojai Foundation in the Council House on Sunday, March 22nd from 5:30-7:30pm.