Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Imagination Ignited by The Blue Fire: Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun

If you haven't read Depth Psychologist James Hillman yet, pick up a copy of The Blue Fire. His fascinating ideas on imagination, image, and metaphor will deepen how you approach your writing. (Depth Psychology is "the modern field whose interest is in the unconscious levels of the psyche.")

Hillman writes: "What makes an image archetypal...archetypal quality emerges through (a) precise portrayal of the image; (b) sticking to the image while hearing it metaphorically; (c) discovering the necessity within the image; (d) experiencing the unfathomable analogical richness of the image...

"Rather than pointing at something, archetypal points to something, and this is value. By attaching archetypal to an image, we ennoble or empower the image with the widest, richest, and deepest possible significance." Page 26 The Blue Fire

The Blue Fire's chapter titles alone should inspire any writer or artist to read into the wee, dark hours, no flashlight needed now that we are grownups. The Poetic Basis of Mind. Imaginal Method. Responding to Images. And I love this one: Imagination, the Ground of Certainty.

Hillman built his life's work around the idea of "letting the image speak."

"By letting the image itself speak, we are suggesting that words and their arrangements (syntax) are soul mines. But mining doesn't require modern technical tools....What does help mining is an eye attuned to the dark."  Page 26 The Blue Fire

In The Roots of Imagination, a very accessible interview available on YouTube, Hillman discusses how we refer to such disasters as 9/11 as "failures of imagination," and how that highlights our need to educate the imagination. Part of that education, I believe, is learning how to "attune your eye to the dark." This is not a valued skill in our culture.

Reader alert, The Blue Fire is not an easy read. Prepare to engage your mind, and if you're lucky, start attuning your eye.

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