Visualization and Meaning in Tantras
Chapter 1. Image, Imagination, and Meaning
IMAGE, IMAGINATION, AND MEANING
νοεῖν οὐκ ἔστιν ἄνευ φαντάσματος1
Hermeneutics of Tantric Visualization
No wonder we lack imagination. We have not yet been able to brush off ideas such as that of Gilbert Ryle that “there is no special faculty of Imagination, occupying itself single-mindedly in fancied viewings and hearings.”3 The prominence Aristotle gave to imagination is matched by the equal amount of negligence in the Semitic traditions and analytical philosophies. If not for the contemporary resurgence of image and imagination, thanks to the cognitive scientists, humanity would have banished what we have in hand, in quest of the philosopher’s stone called ‘reality.’ Addressing imagination is not easy. The project at hand, Language of Images, is even more challenging, as it rests on the presumption that readers are familiar with the contemporary discourse on image and imagination, are familiar with Indian culture in general and Tantric culture in particular, and are familiar with the salient presuppositions of Indian and Tantric philosophies. ← 1 | 2 →
Although all these disclaimers may sound unwelcoming, my objective in the following pages is to give a brief overview of all of these so that I do not have to engage the issues on philosophy or cognitive science and can focus only on the different aspects of Tantric visualization for the remaining pages. For whatever it is worth, this work is not a manual for visualization practices but rather a contemplation upon aspects of such...
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