Hi Jack.
Graham Pemberton
101

that the nature of the ultimate source is imagination

Well, Wordsworth, Blake, and Coleridge thought so — but what they meant by “imagination,” I think, is not what we mean by the term today. We have poisoned the word in our time, dragging it down to mean mostly “daydreaming” and “empty fantasy.” For the Romantics, I think imagination was closer to what we mean today by consciousness. Christians (the Romantics were mostly Christians) believe that when God said “Let there be light,” there was light. I think the Romantics would say that was God imagining the world into being. That’s the level on which they were using the word. The genius of the Romantics was to acknowledge and celebrate the primacy of experience (over the restricting reason of the Enlightenment). They moved the focus from dismantling and analyzing nature to living in and loving that place where nature and the human mind come together, where we each speak the world we live in into being. That last bit in the essay about neuroscience and how we can only ever touch the inner image we have of the world, that the world we experience is half “out there” and half “in here,” is a truth the Romantics discovered experientially, without the aid of science. We all say “Let there be light” every time we open our eyes. We create whole worlds in our dreams. That’s the imagination I’m talking about in this essay. It’s a tragedy how we have thrown away the term in our time.

Are you aware of the little-known Douglas Fawcett?

That’s a new name to me, off to Google to explore it now!

Thanks, Graham!