by Andrea Elizabeth
Talking seems a lot like fantastical, imaginative self-reflection. It is an analysis of how what I imagine is working out in “reality”. I do not believe the imagination is in dialectical opposition to truth, however. As Kierkegaard said, it lies in the realm of possibilities. All things are possible. But we are not to get lost in possibilities and fantasies. We are to work on where we are now.
One thing about prison or monasticism or an extended hospital stay or an invalid’s or old person’s bed at home, is that one loses hope that their imaginings can come true. Healthy young people have faith that what they imagine will happen. For the incapacitated, imagination becomes an escape with no hope of actuality. Monastics voluntarily seek this condition, though they may fantasize about what forsaking earthly hopes and dreams will accomplish for them spiritually. I’m not sure exactly what Kierkegaard means when he says the true self is spiritual. Surely there is a way to understand this without being disembodiedly gnostic. He acknowledges the balance of the finite. St. Paul also talks about the spiritual man. One of the Brooklyn Metaphysical Club’s recordings about Kierkegaard that I listened to brought out how spirituality doesn’t mean the same thing now as it did then. Now it is flaky and new agey. Lost in infinity.