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The Philosophers' Secret Fire: A History of the Human Imagination Paperback – 25 Apr 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (25 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140195904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140195903
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,203,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Patrick Harpur has written two novels and edited a modern alchemical journal. He is the author of DAIMONIC REALITY [Viking/Arkana]. He lives in Dorset.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The ingenious idea at the heart of this book is that the more we seek to deny that we live in a universe suffused with weirdness and the imaginal, the more we bind ourselves to that weirdness. Harpur argues that each advance in science is often a mirrored-but-identical version of something imaginal we have tried to deny, and that the further we delve into the mysteries of the universe, the more we come across an almost magical reality. We deny the faerie or daimonic realm only to find that the quantum world obeys the same rules and fulfils the same function. Full of ideas, and well worth a reread.
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Format: Paperback
What a stimulating and thought-provoking book this is. Harpur explores perhaps too many threads, but the suvival of pagan -> Neoplatonic thought in Western consciousness and imagintion is well described. Another great book from this author.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9a003930) out of 5 stars 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99feff84) out of 5 stars A Hermetic Labyrinth Leading to the Otherworld 29 April 2008
By OAKSHAMAN - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a continuation of the ideas explored in the author's previous masterpiece, _Daemonic Reality_. It examines the "Otherworld", the Anima Mundi, or soul of the world. This is the larger Reality that was accepted by all traditional cultures, but which is now rejected, suppressed, and ignored by Western man. Yet, just because it is ignored doesn't mean that it doesn't exist- and doesn't make itself felt in our lives.

While _Daemonic Reality_ emphasized the modern phenomena that seem to represent "break-outs" from the otherworld (UFO's, crypto-zoological species, Marian apparitions, angels, etc.), this volume goes into more historical and philosophical depth. It is a roundabout approach, but then it almost has to be for such a complex and unusual subject. Modern language and mindsets are simply inadequate for the purpose. Indeed, the book appropriately mirrors a hermetic labyrinth in its approach.

Yet debunking the hyper-rational and ultra-materialistic world of modern scientism isn't the foremost objective here. The author is primarily trying to give us some sense of the mind-set of traditional man, of a supernatural world that existed in close communion with the natural world and human society. Our western religious and scientific tradition has driven a wedge between us and both nature and heaven. This is an alien and unbalanced state for a person, or a society. This seems to be why the old immortal daemons periodically break through the veil into our false, shallow, consensus reality. They are trying to awaken us.

Yes, we are truly initiated by what we cannot control....
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