We must descend fully into the real, messy world, and not stop short of the real individuals who make it up. We get so constricted! So many are afraid to think about the world because only Scientists can do that. So many are afraid of their innate creativity because that is the realm of Artists. But anyone can experience the thrill that accompanies the new ways of seeing that lie at the heart of scientific discovery, anyone can write, or paint, or make music. And yet we mostly don’t. Because, “I’m too busy . . . I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, I can’t really dance, or sing, or write poetry or make pots … I’d be too embarrassed.” We are haunted by the Canon, by the experts, by the professionals. We are afraid of our selves, afraid that we won’t measure up. When great thought, art, and literature become an impediment to human life and action rather than an inspiration, then something is seriously wrong. The democratization of imagination is essential for the full descent into the world of all the virtual beings crying out in their sadness to be revealed (Tom Cheetham, Green Man, Earth Angel, p. 27).
Tom Cheetham is very profound. His phrase, “the democratization of imagination” is exactly what we are experiencing, and what I have been recently writing about. Imagining the Anima Mundi causes one to think along these lines. Western culture has been ascending for a very long time, but now we are beginning to see a Descent occurring. This downswing means several things.
First of all, Westerners are beginning to realize that a constant climb up the so-called ladder of success, to the exclusion of anything else in life, is really the quickest path to failure. For example, a college student who takes only technology and mathematics courses may find a great, high-paying job, but what will their lives be like? If they spend no time descending to the people around them, to the messy entanglements of life, to meeting those human needs for art, music, and culture, and most of all love, they will be technological zombies armed with computers. These people will be without Soul.
Secondly, the descent of the West means an upsurge in creativity and imagination. Cheetham refers to those who are fearful to think about the world, a reluctance to unleash their innate creativity because they are afraid they’re not good enough, or they don’t have the time, or for whatever reason. But, more and more people everyday are writing, painting, and making music, and posting it online. There is a flood of creativity on the Internet today and it’s on the rise. The Great Descent into Soul has commenced.
The Anima Mundi is bringing about all these wonderful things. It is high time that we no longer trust what Cheetham calls the “Canon,” those we were always taught to heed because they supposedly possess the best ways for us to live. Humanity needs imagination and inspiration, not preaching! We need great art and literature, not more widgets to make corporations richer.
The democratization of imagination means we all have access to that vast storehouse of images, the collective unconscious. The greatest boons for humanity have always originated there. Certainly, we also need intellect. But unless we temper the ascent of intellect with a descent into the depths, we will be vapid, one-sided, and ineffectual.
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