I’m fixated on this okay?
Diverging from roots shared with Western thought in the concept of the imaginative faculty, the Islamic imaginal realm is supra-individual and more real than matter.
Is it even possible for us to understand this?
What could this possibly mean?
mediating between the senses and the intelligence… what it perceives is more real than sense-perceptibles
Slowly piecing clues together
modern Western philosophy followed Aristotle in conceiving of the imagination as arising from the senses, eastern Islamic philosophy developed the Neoplatonist understanding of the imagination as receptive of divine images.
Could it be that the Bible and Quran are only the surface of these two civilizations? Did they interpret their sacred books THROUGH these two Greeks? Are WE Aristotelians without even being aware of it?
I’ve written before about how in both the west and the middle east in the medieval age there was a form of priestcraft widely used that “harmonized” Plato and Aristotle so they seemed like they agreed about everything, or at least about the basics. They did this so people didn’t get confused and lose their faith. One Greek plus the holy book is enough to deal with- TWO Greeks plus a holy book? That was considered too much for people to handle. Based on these recent findings via Corbin I speculate that the Shi’ists “harmonized” the two in favor of Plato, and the Catholics in favor of Aristotle. And the latter could be one of the things that caused Protestantism.
This essay is really illuminating. This is the 1200s again
the Christian tradition began to regard the imagination as psychological: not an inspiration from without, but invention, or re-combination, from within. In this history we begin to see the rise in the West of a concept of an autonomous psychological subject.
There’s no Emanation from above, “emanation” happens from within the individual.
In Egypt today they talk about receiving dreams, that is, they presuppose that they do not arise from inside, they see them as arriving from outside.
I thought this was just a conspiracy at first- this has significant geopolitical implications
Muslim thinkers, especially Sufis and Persian philosophers, continued to develop the Neoplatonist top-down understanding of imagination.
They operate with Plato’s triadic structure of sensible-imaginal-intelligible. The thinkers of Shi’ism believe the imaginal realm exists externally. If this is difficult for you to wrap your mind around you’re not alone- I think I’m starting to look at this as a form of retardation the west has. Tap on a table. “Objects” in the imaginal realm are realer to them than that table.
I sense that people here are able to entertain that idea, just not accept it.
If you think of it concretely, they’re willing to suffer sanctions because the Hidden Imam is more important to them. I can actually relate to them. Think of wearing a nice silk shirt vs. a shirt made of burlap. The stuff in this world doesn’t matter. If I had to choose between a silk shirt and being devoted to my version of the Hidden Imam, you can probably guess which one I’m going for. I doubt though that the Shi’ists and I are exactly the same, and I’m trying to get a better idea of how they see reality.
We’re the great-great-grandchildren of the people who decided against this realm so I’m pessimistic if we could ever go beyond merely entertaining the idea to believing in it. Look how easily its dismissal can be used for political control though
the imaginal realm effectively accounts for the spiritual visions of the faithful as true images. He locates the Western rejection of the imaginal realm in the medieval debates that culminated at the Council of Nicaea. The Church hierarchy was threatened by a concept of the active imagination that would be able to dialogue with angels
Note that we’re not talking about ordinary imagination. They don’t want you to use your imagination too much about higher concepts.
Ironically, you might need to have to use your imagination to understand the imaginal realm- so for that reason it might be impossible, a knot in an endless loop.
Here is Mulla Sadra sounding like a Platonist
What are perceived by the five senses… are luminous hidden images existing in another world; they are not those qualities (of material things) usually called ‘sensibles,’ except in an accidental fashion.
This is by no means simple to grasp.
The Hidden Imam exists in the Realm of the Forms, and no, you can’t knock on anything there like it’s a table.
Apparently many of them don’t see Muhammad and the imams as supernatural, they see them as having a strong imaginal faculty. Think of it in terms of Kabbalistic emanationism- Allah is the Ein Sof, the next level down is his messenger the Angel Gabriel, Keter. From there it descends to Muhammad, i.e. Hokhmah, then to Ali, i.e. Binah, and on down through the rest of the imams, and the Hidden Imam is expected to return as all of those points of light from the Ein Sof/Allah down taken together. You do need to have a special imaginative faculty to “cognize” the Great Chain of Being. Secularists might think of it as a rare genetic mutant or something like that- the Mahdi is someone who will be born with a strong enough imaginal faculty to understand the will of Allah. And we saw that Khomeini at least PARTOOK of that Mahdi nature, even if he was not thee Mahdi himself. Tell me the imaginal realm isn’t “real” when he affected a Revolution against Rockefeller, Kissinger, and Co. It must be realer than whatever the west has if we haven’t managed to do something like that.