In this essay, part of a cluster of pieces on her concept of “lyric philosophy,” the author explores connections between imagination, understood as the capacity to think in images, and what Wittgenstein called “seeing-as.” In seeing-as, we focus on what Wittgenstein identifies as inner structural relations. This is a term that Max Wertheimer, one of the founders of gestalt philosophical psychology, used independently to describe how seeing-as involves seeing into a thing or situation. The present essay suggests that both seeing-as and seeing-into depend on, and develop, sensitivity to ontological resonance, the attunement of things with one another, the deep analogies that constitute the underlying structure of the world. Imagination is thus fundamental to the good, or ethical, life. For its disciplined exercise relieves us of what Simone Weil calls the “Ring of Gyges”: the refusal to perceive significant analogies between ourselves and other beings, which is the root of injustice.
Jan Zwicky; Imagination and the Good Life. Common Knowledge 1 January 2014; 20 (1): 28–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-2374853
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