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Journal of American FolkloreImaginative Horizons models the kind of interdisciplinary study 'we' need (whoever we are). . . . His reader will learn much from the turbulence Vincent Crapanzano stirs up.
— Lee Haring
— Lee Haring
— Jon Bialecki
"There is a pleasure alone in reading each of Crapanzano's chapters, and his erudite, open-ended, and often purposefully contradictory musings on these topics can well serve as a tonic to anyone interested in ways in which these topics could be fruitfully reframed; those interested in phenomenological, psychoanalytic, hermeneutic, and existential approaches to anthropology will also find Crapanzano's virtuoso readings and critiques rewarding."
"Imaginative Horizons models the kind of interdisciplinary study 'we' need (whoever we are). . . . His reader will learn much from the turbulence Vincent Crapanzano stirs up."
That flowing water! That flowing water!THIS POEM tells of a young Navajo man who looks back across the San Juan river at his homeland, the diné bikéyah. He is overcome with loneliness and homesickness and sings this poem. It begins with a greeting, Ahalaane. The diné bikéyah is the object of his longing. It is, for the Navajo, the center of the universe, the point in space, Momaday tells us, from which all concepts of the cosmos proceed. What is strikingly Navajo is the image of the border-frontier here turned back on itself-as flowing water. The mind wanders across it. The mind wanders across what is in motion. There is no stasis-just movement on movement, flowing on flowing, wandering on wandering.
My mind wanders across it.
That broad water! That flowing water!
My mind wanders across it. That old age water!
That flowing water!
My mind wanders across it.
And I taste at the root of the tongue the unreal of what is real.BY ACKNOWLEDGING imaginative horizons and the hinterland beyond, I want to offer a critique of certain of the empirical presuppositions of our science. I am not dismissing empiricism per se, nor science, anthropological science, but rather a particular take on empiricism (on reality) that denies or at least ignores an important dimension of human experience-one with which we are all familiar. Though I want to affirm the romantic roots of anthropology, I am not advocating veneration of the irrational, the irreal, the imagination. My aim is much more mundane. Like William James, I want to call attention to that dimension of experience that insofar as it resists articulation, indeed disappears with articulation, has in fact been ignored. In his plea to reinstate "the vague and inarticulate to its proper place in our mental life," James noted that "the definite images of traditional psychology form but the very smallest parts of our minds as they actually live." He writes:
--Wallace Stevens, "Holiday in Reality"
The traditional psychology talks like one who should say a river consists of nothing but pailsful, spoonsful, quartpotsful, barrelsful, and other moulded forms of water. Even were the pails and the pots all actually standing in the stream, still between them the free water would flow. It is just the free water of consciousness that psychologists resolutely overlook. Every definite image in the mind is steeped and dyed in the free water that flows around it. With it goes the sense of its relations, near and remote, the dying echo of when it came to us, the dawning sense of whither it is to lead. The significance, the value of the image is all in this halo or penumbra that surrounds and escorts it,-or rather that is fused into one with it and has become bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh. ( James 1992, 164- 65)James's rush of metaphors is telling. The halo, the penumbra-I prefer the aura-that surrounds all experience, perception, and understanding can only be evoked. Fuzzy, shadowy, it is a necessary component, I believe, of all thought, perception, and experience. It may be conceived of as a source of creativity, as the Romantics did, and as we find in dreams and the unconscious, but I am reluctant to postulate such creativity, for we know only that horizons appear as an opening up, an edge, a falling out, away, through . . . I cannot find an appropriate preposition. The association of imaginative auras and horizons with creativity, however compelling it may seem to us, is historically constituted and remains, as we must acknowledge anthropologically, hypothetical. We must not forget that it is during the Enlightenment that the idea of the imagination, as we know it, was born.
Excerpted from Imaginative Horizons: an Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology by Vincent Crapanzano Copyright © 2004 by Vincent Crapanzano. Excerpted by permission.
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