I. Two Ways of Liberation
Kant's failure to appreciate the central position of imagination is merely symptomatic of Western philosophy's impotence in dealing imaginatively with the perennial problem of dualism: subject vs. object, "I" vs. "not-I," man and world, spirit and matter. Therefore we now turn to the Romantic Movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a more grandiose framework in which to understand this problem from the vertical standpoint of depth, i.e. the imaginal.1 For it was the historical task of the English and German Romantics, under the influence of the post-Kantian idealism (Schelling, Fichte, von Schlegel, Schiller) to promote imagination to the rank of the primary creative agency of the human mind or the Self.
It must be pointed out, however, that the Romantic admiration for this newly discovered "true organon" of all knowledge and wisdom oftentimes degenerated into what Kant called Schwarmeri--sentimental enthusiasm. In Edward Casey's words, "imagination became a mesmeric term that meant so much in general--claims concerning its powers were so exaggerated--that it came to mean very little in particular.2 Romanticism justifiably rebelled against the Cartesian cogito as well as against the "I" principle of the Kantian "I think," converting it into a Self which was held to be primordial, active and unlimited by the objective world. But this rebellion was bound to develop into irrationalism because it continued to be negatively determined by the Cartesian version of the rational ideal. When the scientific tradition rejected the Romantic belief in the creativeness of the Self as outright nonsense, it nevertheless reappeared in an altered guise--as the resolution to subject the whole of nature to man's technological control. This is as much as saying that the Romantic Movement as a whole did not radically break with the idealist and subjectivist tradition of the West.
Probably the only major exceptions to subjectivism are Coleridge, Blake, and Goethe. Long before Jung, Coleridge dissociated creative or primary imagination from simply reproductive imagination or fancy. Fancy--a mere handmaiden of perception--deals in similes and allusions, forming pleasing, whimsical or odd mental images with little consideration for their unity: it is "no other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the order of time and space."3 Fancy produces the kind of imagery that comes into minds almost unbidden out of the impressions of the senses which memory has stored and retained. Creative imagination, on the other hand, is described by Coleridge not only as the source of art but also as the living power and prime agent of all human perception; it dissolves, diffuses in order to re-create and to unify. Creative imagination is essentially vital, which for Coleridge meant that it is a way of discovering a deeper truth about the world. The figure of depth suggests that the primary imagination consists in seeing the particular as somehow embodying and expressing a more universal significance, that is, a "deeper" meaning than itself or what Shakespeare's Prospero calls "the dark backward and abysm of time." Coleridge is here acknowledging the importance of the idea of a concrete universal which is found in most metaphysical aesthetics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
It was Goethe who deliberately made the notion of a concrete universal the governing condition of his poetry. In a letter to Eckermann he declares that "every character, however peculiar it may be, and every representation, from stone all the way up to the scale of man, has certain universality; for everything repeats itself, and there is nothing in the world that has happened only once."4 In Goethe's view, everything in nature exists in a state of radical interpenetration. Moreover, the phenomena which manifest themselves on the surface not only interpenetrate one another, but variously reveal the perduring archetypes (Urphänomen) which they express and symbolize. The Goethean archetype, unlike the Platonic eidos, exists only in and through the particular. As Mephistopheles informs the pedantic scholar Faust, the green and golden archetype is perceived in the sensuous living world.
Grau, treuer Freund, ist aile Theorie
Und griin des Lebens goldner Baum.
If, however, we are looking beyond the Romantic Movement for a more empirically grounded and systematic vindication of the imaginal, it will be most rewarding to consult Jungian psychology and what may be considered its philosophical counterpart--Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms. In particular it is Jung's thought that, in conjunction with its most recent creative advance in the work of James Hillman on the one hand, and with Cassirer's exploration of myth and symbol on the other, points to something like nirvana. The word nirvana is taken in the literal sense of release from all dualities--a release which in the Western mode is that of imagination. Our venture into Jungian territory must be preceded, however, by an examination--with the assistance of Owen Barfield--of the imaginal as a transpersonal link between Western Romanticism and the Vedantic (non-dual) East. I have included Barfield because his study of symbol and metaphor in literature reveals the same relationship between myth and imagination that Cassirer discovered as a result of his reflection on the symbolic function of consciousness.
As we follow Barfield's subtle and searching disquisitions in the area of Western Romanticism, we cannot help recalling what came to be known as the "pious fraud," perpetrated by Christian mystics (ca. sixth century) to assure for themselves toleration within the Church. The fraud consisted in the fact that the writings which appeared at that time under the name of Dionysus the Areopagite were later found to belong to an unknown Syrian monk who had merely signed the name of Dionysus the Areopagite (supposedly the first disciple of St. Paul in Athens) to his books to obtain a better hearing among his contemporaries. He was a neo-Platonist who had adopted Christianity and who combined the doctrines of neo-Platonic philosophy and the practice of ecstasy with the Christian doctrine. Dionysus' books entered into the tradition of the Western Church and acted as a kind of bulwark and guarantee for the mystical minority within the Church thereafter.
Let's assume now that the Romantic Movement of the nineteenth century, though innocent of any knowledge of the East, had already then stumbled upon a view of imagination that, in the contemporary work of men like Barfield. Hillman, and so on, has come to represent the nearest Western equivalent of Oriental disciplines of liberation. For the Romantics it would have been unnecessary to perpetrate a "pious fraud." But it may be necessary to repeat the Syrian monk's feat for the neo-Jungians, whose celebration of the polymorphous psyche should appear less threatening to the still largely unquestioned monistic vision of the West than a direct confrontation with the hopelessly confusing luxuriance of the Eastern imagery.
A while ago I suggested that development of imagination may be the Western way of nirvanizing. If we remember that nirvana is but a refined offshoot of the Hindu advaitist (non-dual) maxim tat tvam asi (you are that), we can explore in more detail the connection between the East and the Romantic idea of imagination.
Coleridge wrote about the creative imagination, among other things, as being the "threshold" between self and not-self, between mind and matter, between conscious and unconscious. As he saw it, the task of genius is to apprehend "unity in multeity" of the objective world. While talent merely copies nature, genius, he claimed, creates after the fashion of nature herself, organically combining the "I" and "not-I," i.e., repeating in the finite mind the eternal act of creation in the in finite I AM.5 In a word, imagination is said to link harmoniously ("psychosomatically" is Barfield's word)6 matter and spirit; it stands before the object and experientially, or rather imaginatively, knows "I am that."
The Romantic appreciation of the imaginal realm has been adumbrated in the famous dictum of Heraclitus, the first psychologist in the Western tradition, "You could not discover the limits of the soul, even if you traveled every road to do so; such is the depth of its meaning."7 Bruno Snell, commenting on this passage, says that the principle of depth became the distinctive quality of the Psyche: "In Heraclitus the image of depth is designated to throw light on the outstanding trait of the soul and its realm: that it has its own dimension; that it is not extended in space."8 if we are to believe Heraclitus, what distinguishes the West, in its most receptive moments, is the awareness of the intermediate region of the psyche--the imaginal pneumosomatic "between."
It is clear, however, that imagination, conceived as a tie between the outward and the inward, has been cultivated in the East long before its emergence in the form of the Romantic Movement. It is only that the Easterner, when he became fully conscious of himself as a separate entity, was not prepared to accept the fact. The Upanishads have rendered this shattering primordial experience as follows: "The self (Atman) looking around, saw nothing other than himself. First he said 'I am' . . . and he was afraid (Brhadaranyaka Up, 1.4 1-2). To the Oriental man individual consciousness did not seem to be an unqualified good as it seems to us. He chose therefore to use this questionable acquisition not to subdue and control the earth but rather as a tool, as a device for re-establishing the status quo ante. Thus it is not in the least unseemly or "pantheistic" for the Hindu to envision the god Krishna playing with girls in the same Garden (?) from which Adam and Eve were driven out. For the Eastern sage the attainment of liberation seems to entail absorption into the highest state of Pure Consciousness and Bliss (ananda) which Barfield contrasts with the Western impulse toward liberation by vision. The Eastern imagination is inclined to ignore or to minimize its connection with the time of the earth. It seems to leave the earth too soon.
"Liberation by vision" is analogous to dreaming with one part of ourselves and at the same time knowing with another part that we are dreaming. We are simultaneously outside the dream and within it. Poets are visionaries and dreamers, not because they are prone to reveries or capricious and erratic fancy, but precisely because they do not lose themselves in the act of vision. Poetic or true imagination, in its most sharpened Western form, is a noetic vision; it is cognitively meaningful, requiring the maintenance and not the sacrifice, of ordinary consciousness. It is also for this reason that, to the Westerner, Krishna's sporting with girls in Paradise, though certainly a play of cosmic proportions, should seem too placid if not flagrantly wicked (Adam had only one playmate). The Eastern man, in his relentless quest for perfect freedom, has almost succeeded in circumventing history.
In the West Imagination is inseparable from what William Blake--the greatest visionary of all Romantics--called "double vision," the ability to perceive a thing in at least two ways simultaneously. When Blake looked at the sun, he saw not only "a round thing somewhat like a guinea" but also "an immeasurable Company of the Heavenly Host crying Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty."9 In non-poetic words, man is not limited to the passive reception and retention of sense data; his perception and his powers of imagination extend far beyond the compass of nature.
2. Imagination and
At this point we may distinguish two aspects or levels of imagination. On one level imagination is necessary, as Aristotle, Hume and Kant suggested, to tidy up the chaos of sense experience. we must use Imagination to apply concepts and to ascribe meanings to the objects which spring up around us as soon as we are conscious. At a different level imagination is indispensable if we are to approach the objects of perception as symbolizing something other than themselves. W may use imagination render our unfamiliar and mysterious, to untidy the order created at the first level
The first level also coincides with the ordinary logical use of language which presupposes that the meanings of the words it employs are constant. But, as Barfield observes, the logical or discursive use of language can never add any meaning to it, because the conclusion of a syllogism is implicitly contained in the premises. Life however is not as logical and immutably clear-cut as a syllogism.
Every man, certainly every original man has something new to say. Something new to mean. Yet if he Wants to express that meaning [. . .] he must use language--a vehicle which presupposes that he must either mean what was meant before or talk nonsense.
An extended or imaginative use of language implies that "we must talk what is nonsense on the face of it, but in such a way that the recipient may have the new meaning suggested to him."10 This is the way of metaphor. Metaphor, says Barfield, involves a tension between two ostensibly incompatible meanings, reflecting a deeper tension within ourselves--
a tension between that part of ourselves which experiences the incompatibilities as a mysterious unity and that part which remains well able to appreciate the duality and their incompatibility. Without the former metaphor is nonsense language, but without the latter it is not even language.11
In sum, imagination, in addition to its commonly accepted reproductive function, has the uncanny ability to see into the inner life of things and to assure us that there is no more in our experience of the world than meets the unreflecting eye; that, from even a sober point of view, there is, as Wordsworth said, salvation from a "universe of death" (The Prelude). In Mary Warnock's phrasing, it is a sense, a premonition that "there is always more to experience, and more in what we experience than we can predict."12
Barfield extends the range of imagination even further by suggesting that it makes possible not only a figurative or metaphorical use of language, but also the experience of what we call matter as an epiphany of spirit. It is really the same as in language. For example, when we see the body of a fellow being and hear his voice, we may add the various components of his behavior and then draw the conclusion that this particular conglomeration of transformed groceries is man (behaviorism has its source right here--in a lack or in a denial of imagination). Note however that the word "man," this purely mechanistic level of perception, is but an arbitrarily attached label to a "something" which, if we are consistent in our denial of imagination, should never evoke in us any feelings of commiseration, disgust or admiration. But then we may also proceed by perceiving the body and the countenance of a fellow being as a material picture or image of "something" spiritual. In fact, it is possible to look at nature as a whole in this way: not merely as matter but also physiognomically and imaginatively, as an expression. Matter can be perceived as the indispensable background of the spirit or, in Barfield's words, as "the occasion of spirit or, at all events, the occasion of the spirit's awareness of itself as spirit."13
Accordingly, when it is glibly proffered that imagination is creative, this should mean that it establishes a peculiar kind of relation between matter and spirit--a relation in which neither matter nor spirit is obliterated, but rather brought together, fused into a new whole producing ever and anon new wholes, new configurations of images in art, poetry, religion and science. In due course we should be led to the inescapable conclusion that imagination must be at work in the so-called physical nature as well.
Barfield is convinced that the great discovery made by the poets and the philosophers of the Romantic Movement was that the exercise of the imaginal capacity is "the only way in which we can really begin to have to do with the spirit." What Barfield means here is that we exist "as autonomous, self-conscious individual spirits, as free beings" not by disregarding the gap between matter and spirit (the danger in westernized Orientalism), but by consciously and lucidly depending on it. For imagination lives in the gap, in the middle, suspended "as a rainbow spanning the two precipices and linking them harmoniously together."14 A life within the spectrum of imagination avoids spending itself in unrestrained sensuality (materialism--vulgar and philosophical) or in the useless heroics of a muddle-headed spiritualism. It is rather, to use the portmanteau term, a psychosomatic activity or, as the Buddha who is also known as the Great Physician would have it, a life of nirvana.
3. Toward a New Concept
In our move toward the Jungian cum Cassirer conception of the mythical psyche we must pause to amend, at least provisionally, the widespread assumption that early man projected into nature his own ideas of souls, ghosts and ancestral spirits which he had fashioned out of his private dreams, hallucinations or cataleptic states. It is necessary to lay to rest this nineteenth-century intellectualistic view of the genesis of myth (Tylor, Lang, Frazer) if only because it is easily confused with the Romantic notion of the imaginal as the realm of confluence between matter and spirit. The result of such confusion is that the imaginal realm is transmogrified into a nebulous modern version of the primitive's "mystic participation" in nature.
The expression "mystic participation" was coined by the French sociologist and philosopher L. Lévy-Bruhl (died 1939) to characterize the "supernatural" orientation of the so-called primitive mentality which according to him is derived from collective representations manifested in typical, native social culture. These representations are prelogical, involving "objects and beings . . . in a network of mystical participations and exclusions."15 The word "prelogical" does not mean that primitives are incapable of thinking correctly, but merely that most of their beliefs are incompatible with the principles of scientific and Aristotelian logic. Lévy-Bruhi does not hold that "logical principles" are foreign to the minds of primitives . Prelogical does not mean alogical or anti-logical. Prelogical, applied to primitive mentality, means simply that it does not go out of its way, as we do, to avoid contradiction."16
The principal weakness in Lévy-Bruhl's theory is that he made too strong a contrast between the primitive and the civilized, making them out to be different not just in degree, but in quality. According to Evans-Pritchard, Lévy-Bruhl, toward the end of his life, admitted that there may be a substratum of "primitiveness" in every person. In this he concurred with those anthropologists who recognize that "it is not so much a question of primitive mentality as the relation of two types of thought to each other in any society, whether primitive or civilized, a problem of levels of thought and experience."17 To some extent Cassirer, too, because of his dependence on neo-Kantian philosophy, seems to share this view. Our point, however, will be that not only is there a substratum of mythical mentality in every person, but that mythical or archetypal images constitute the very essence of psychic life, that they are the psyche. Lévy-Bruhl came close to this realization (which also explains Jung's frequent references to participation mystique) but he could not fully appreciate it because he was dominated, as were almost all writers of the period, by the notions of evolution and inevitable progress.
Arguing against the nineteenth-century evolutionistic fantasy, Barfield suggests that the picture of the primitive man as "always projecting his insides onto something or other," i.e., as animating a dead world with arbitrarily concocted shapes of monstrous or benevolent beings, must be reversed to say that "it was not man who made the myths but myths or the archetypal substance they reveal, which made man."18 For quite possibly the primitive had no "insides" to begin with. Perhaps, says Barfield, instead of being a camera obscura (something like a box with one single, very small aperture), he was an Aeolian harp or wind harp. Now this image of the harp, on whose strings wind could be made to produce harmonious sounds, had a very special fascination for the Romantics. For example, it provided Shelley with the idea of a "Power which visits with its breath our silent chords at will."19 Conceivably it is this Power--call it the Collective Unconscious or the Id--which breathes through the harp-strings of individual brains and nerves and fluids, producing not only poetry but also the everpresent and Iuxuriant Imagery of myth.
What I am trying to say here is that originally man is not an independent subject confronting an objective, alien world, but rather that the so-called subjectivity, ego, the "inner sanctum" and so on, emerges from a common ground, embracing both man and nature. Indeed the very words "subject" and "subjective," which today have come to mean "the mind only," "the personal," and even "illusory" or "fanciful," had the meaning of "pertaining to the essence or reality of a things; real, essential" (Oxford English Dictionary). It is therefore not wide of the mark to suggest that nature too has an "inside," even though the kind of super-individual wisdom which is at work in nature may not be accessible to the Cartesian or semanticist mode of ratiocination.
In this wider context, our subjectivity, soul or consciousness, apart from the philosophical and theological accretions of meaning that these words carry, can be seen, in Barfield's scheme of things, as a "form of consciousness that has contracted from the periphery into individual centers." Then it should be also clear that
the task of Homo sapiens, when he first appeared as a physical form on earth, was not to evolve a faculty of thought somehow out of nothing, but to transform the unfree wisdom, which he experienced through his organism as given meaning, into the free subjectivity.20
Needless to say, the process of contraction from the periphery--that circumference which is nowhere and whose center is everywhere21--is also alienation of man from the Source, from the depth of psychic existence; a continuing fall which could not have been arrested had he not been able to preserve more or less intact the power of imagination. For it is precisely the role of imagination to "coadunate" (Coleridge's term) again and again the estranged subjectivity, the lonely Promethean self with its heavenly or, for that matter, earthly origin. But this transaction involves a most intricate volte-face. A man of imagination is not interested in relapsing into some primal, undifferentiated condition. Neither can the fusion of the inner and the outer take place by a divine fiat or by a decision of intellect or will or any other single agency. The unity is re-established only from within that imaginal threshold by means of which the 'Thou' (of the ancient Hindu Tat tvam asi projects or rather retrojects--only in a more intensified and condensed form--the same wind-spirit by which it is aboriginally illumined.
We could also say that the function of imagination is to make palpable the fact that matter in its subjective (expressive) aspect is spirit and the spirit, regarded objectively, is the material world. in the end the same spirit which on the periphery, i.e., unconsciously, creates the world of objects, of actual mountains and trees, works in the artist to create the poem or the painting--only now in harmony with the "peripheral" rout by no means secondary) unconscious. In Schelling's genial phrase, "the objective world is only the original, still unconscious, poetry of the spirit."22
There is a passage in Barfield's work in which he draws an explicit parallel between his own endeavor and that of Cassirer. Cassirer, says Barfield, has shown
how the history of human consciousness was not a progress from an initial condition of blank darkness toward wider and wider consciousness of a preexistent world. but a gradual extrication of a small. but growing and increasingly clear and self-determined focus of inner human experience from a dreamlike state of virtual identity with the life of the body and of its environment. Self-consciousness emerged from mere consciousness.23
In our opinion. Barfield's last sentence, on the face of it, represents a recognition of what Orientals have always meant by Pure Consciousness (ananda, Brahman-Atman, nirvana-samsara)--for Cassirer and Jung terra incognita which neither of them cared to explore. . . . At this stage we are simply saying that man started his career on earth not as an unconcerned onlooker facing a separate, unintelligible world about which he subsequently invented all manner of myth, but that he had to draw, extricate his self-consciousness, out of the world of his experience; he found himself through the intercourse with the not-self.
We are considering here the phenomenon of imagination at its very birth, in the form of an intermediary realm between the conscious and the unconscious (inner and outer) which, according to Barfield and Cassirer, embodies the first images and constitutes the common matrix of myth and language. As Barfield states,
all the richness and variety of myth, and all the richness and variety of language, arise from the intermediate stages between consciousness, or mind, and the material world.24
Also from the standpoint of archetypal psychology myth has its origin in a realm, in a reality, a state of affairs which is not altogether human, that is, in the psychic realm. For the psyche, in a deepened version of the Jungian thought, is a wilder, more encompassing notion than man. Says Hillman:
Man exists in the midst of psyche . . . it is not the other way around . . . and there is much of psyche that extends beyond the nature of man.25
In the last analysis the world of myth must be envisioned as co-extensive with the world of the psyche. Thus the main task of archetypal psychology which claims to reflect a refining and deepening of Jung's later work, will be to "re-mythologize consciousness"--a sacred, psychopomic adventure which goes hand in hand with "deliteralizing consciousness and restoring its connection to mythical and metaphorical patterns."
Clearly, from the perspective
of re-mythologized consciousness, the nineteenth century evolutionist notion
of myth is turned upside down. For if it is the case that myth and the
psyche are coextensive, then, as Barfield noted, by no means can we be
certain whether man has created myth or myth and its soulful substance
created man. In the mode of Hillman's religiously irreverent speech, one
could just as well start from the other end, namely, "the mundus imaginalis
the archetypes (or Gods) and say that our 'secular world' is at the same
time mythical, an imitative projections of theirs, including their pathologies.
. . ." To pin down this new a priori, he concludes: "We can imagine
nothing or perform nothing that is not already formally given by the archetypal
imagination of the Gods." . . .27
to Gilbert Durand, the Romantics (Goethe, Novalis,
Blake) are part of the "occult tradition" or "antiphilosophy" which includes
men like Paracelsus,
Silesius, Comelius Agrippa,
Robert Fludd, Giordano
Bruno, Pico della Mirandola,
Ficino, Nicholas of Cusa,
etc. They are all seen as rebels against the dominant Western logic of
either/or and the “schizomorphic structure of Western intelligence." ("The
Image of Man in Occult Tradition," Spring 1976, p. 84; p. 89.) Durand
states that "the basic disease from which our culture may be dying is man's
minimization of images and myths, as well as his faith in a positivist,
rationalist, aseptized civilization" ("Exploring the Imaginal," Spring
1971, p. 84.)
2Casey, Imagining, p. 18; cf his "Toward an Archetypal Imagination," Spring 1974, pp. 1-32.
3S. T. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, Chap. XIII. For a lucid treatment of the problem of poetic imagination with important references to Coleridge, see D. G. James, Scepticism and Poetry: An Essay on the Poetic Imagination (London: Allen and Unwin, 1937).
4Conversations with Goethe, recorded by Johann Peter Eckermann, entry date October 29, 1823. An English translation is published in Everyman's library.
5See Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, Chap. XVIII.
6See Barfield, Romanticism Comes of Age (London: Anthropsophic Pub. Co, 1944), pp.27-28.
7Wheelwright, Heraclitus, Fr. 42.
8Bruno Snell, The Discovery of Mind (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953), p. 17.
9See Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1977), pp.29-31, 123.
10Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 60-61.
11Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 30.
12Warnock, Imagination, p. 202. E. Casey speaks about the "possibilizing" power of imagination. "Mind is free--is indeed most free--in imaginaing" (Imagining ,p. 201).
13Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 148.
14Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 150.
15L. Lévy-Bruhl, La Mentalité primitive, 14th ed. (1947), p. 17.
16L. Lévy-Bruhl, La Mentalité primitive (The Herbert Spencer Lecture, 1931), p. 21.
17E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Theories of Primitive Religion (Clarendon Press, 1965), p. 91; cf. pp. 86-92. In opposition to Lévy-Bruhl’s evolutionary conception of prelogical mentality, Bronislaw Malinowski emphasizes the functional significance of myth: "Studied alive, myth . . . is not symbolic, but a direct expression of its subject matter; it is not an explanation in satisfaction of a scientific interest, but a narrative resurrection of a primeval reality, told in satisfaction of deep religious wants, moral cravings, social submissions. . . . Myth is a vital ingredient of human civilization; it is not an idle tale, but a hard-worked active force; it is not an intellectual explanation . . . but a pragmatic charter of primitive faith and moral wisdom." (Magic, Science and Religion, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1948, 101.)
18Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 75.
19Quoted in Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 67.
20 Barfield, Speaker’s Meaning (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1967), pp 113-114. Cf. Rediscovery of Meaning, pp. 17, I48-149; Saving the Appearances, A Study in Idolatry (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1965), Chapters I-X,
21I am referring to the circle of Hermes Trismegistus (Hermes Thrice-Greatest), who defined God as "an sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." In the Middle Ages this definition was attributed to Plato, it was repeated by Rabelais, Bruno. Nicholas of Cusa, Pascal, and lately by Jung in his conversations with Hermann Hesse. See Liber XXIV philosophorum, Proposition II; Clemens Baumker, "Das pseudo-hermetische Buch der wierundzwanzig Meister [ . . . ]," Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der Philosophie und ihrer Geschichte. Festgabe zurn 70. Geburtstas Georg Freiherm von Herding (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder. 1913), p. 31.
22Quoted in Warnock. Imagination, p. 66. Howard Nemerov who writes in the spirit of Barfield, says that “poetry . . . attempts to catch first evanescent flickerings of thought across across the surface of things. It wants to be as though the things themselves were beginning to speak.” Poetry is “simply language doing itself right, language as it ought to be, language as it was in the few hours between Adam's naming the creation and his fall." Figures of Thought (Boston: David R. Godine, 1978), pp. 11. 57.
23Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 16.
24Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning, p. 30; cf. p.24.