Friday, October 26, 2007

The imagination and the intellect

No one thinks, even if he is only utilizing an acquired idea, without calling up a whole complex of images, emotions, sensations, which are the culture medium of the idea.

When we want to awaken a thought in anyone, what are the means at our disposal? One only, to produce in him by word and sign states of sensibility and of imagination, emotion and memory in which he will discover our idea and make it his own. (Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life, p. 34.)

In arguing for a position we need to appeal to the whole person. That is why rhetoric and poetics and necessary preliminary studies in the intellectual formation in preparation for philsoophy and theology. It is why it is so important to properly form the imagination and to cultivate emotional health as a part of one's intellectual formation—and why the university should be concerned about such cultivation. It is also part of the reason why God made the Bible as much story as a collection of essays and treatises. And why one needs literary as well as philosophical training in order to interpret scripture properly.

No comments: