Recently, Jack Preston King published a fascinating article on Medium.com entitled Is God Imagination? (1), in which he referred to a book Natural Supernaturalism by M. H. Abrams (2), subtitled Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature. This was so inspiring that I’ve bought a copy of the book, and have decided to make a start on this new theme by doing a series of brief posts.
In many books that I read, the author quotes poets, especially the Romantics, who display an extraordinary spiritual understanding; they were truly in touch with something profound. Of course, they are not restricted by the scientific method which measures and analyses, and which is dominated by intellectual thinking, the faculty of reason. They are free to exercise their intuition and imagination which, according to spiritual thinking, are higher faculties than the intellect.
The poets who will feature in this series are therefore the Romantics — including Wordsworth, Shelley, Coleridge, Blake — W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and others.
When I say ‘scientists’ in my title, I am referring to those addicted to the philosophy of materialism, thus ‘Enlightenment’ scientists. They tend to see their type of science as the only true knowledge, and are dismissive of anything outside their box. While accepting the importance and validity of the scientific method, I would nevertheless like to suggest that it reduces the scope of science by severely limiting the field of investigation to the material world. These scientists should therefore, instead of insisting that the material world is the only reality, accept that science is only one method of enquiry into the nature of reality amongst others which are also valid. The universe is far more complicated than materialism allows.
I understand, of course, that not all modern scientists think in this way, and that a new paradigm is emerging. The materialist Enlightenment scientists that I am criticising therefore belong to an old paradigm, which is hopefully dying away.
So here, to begin, is a striking passage from Wordsworth, writing about the incarnating soul, which is the beginning of stanza 5 from a poem with an extraordinary title: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
(2) Norton Library, 1973