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Vanessa Sheehan – NATURE AND IMAGINATION

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is imagination itself.” – William Blake

Thomas Berry said that loss of imagination is loss of Nature. This poses the question: what is the link between imagination and Nature? Could the human imagination have an ecological function? Of course, the source of all creative action and novelty is the imagination. The etymology of the word ‘Nature’ (Latin natura) means ‘birth’. Might the Earth and all her diverse forms therefore be considered a material birthing of a planetary imagination, which constitutes a transcendental wholeness, an intelligent, novelty-producing urge to life?

In this context we humans are not born onto the Earth; rather we are birthed by the Earth. Each of us embodies a spark, a part, of this transcendental wholeness in which we are simultaneously embedded and implicated, both psychically and physically. The mental and material structure of the human is rooted in the mental and material structure of our planet. Human and Earth thus constitute a coherence. Here the whole is present within the part.

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