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POLITICS OF THE IMAGINATION: The Life, Work and Ideas of Charles Fort (Critical Vision) Paperback – 1 May 2002
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About the Author
Colin Bennett is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Fort is falsly seen as simply a collector of odd stories. Of inexplicable falls from the sky, spaceships, weird human behaviour - anything that didn't fit with consensus "reality". This view condemns Fort into an earlier version of Ripley and his "Believe it or not" sideshow - candyfloss for the brain. Funfair fodder.
Fort devoted his life to something much deeper, much darker, much more dangerous. In short he took on the establishment, in all its forms, and challenged how we had filled the "emptiness" of Lao Tzu's clay pot with "facts" and "reality". Fort's vast collection of "unholy" events simply made a nonsense of "reality". And it is as a commentator rather than a collector that makes Charles Fort one of the most important, if still largely ignored, men of the 20th Century. Equally Bennett arrives as the most important commentator on Fort in the 21st Century.
We occupy a left brain, yang world to the exclusion of the fancy called imagination. We are told as children that "it" (the dream, the present worry or whatever) is "just your imagination" - a worthless thing outside of reality and not to be concerned with. We are cajoled to "be objective" and ignore the wholly unreliable subjective world.
Bennett talks about having "the strength of nerve to doubt if there is such a thing as a fact". Indeed given that so many so called "forteans" deride Bennett for his "unscientific approach", it does take some nerve to stand apart from the crowd.
Equally unpopular with the materialists is the notion that "when we imagine we create a form of life" - that doesn't fit with "the facts". The difficulty is, as Bennett continues, "the very absurd and often grotesque playfulness of many incidents Fort describes is insulting to all our ideas of the universe being a a serious design with proper purpose". And again "thus we do not consider "factual objectivity" so much as what is 'allowed'"
We have developed a collective amnesia, choosing "the latest whatever" in preference to something from yesterday or many years ago. Just as the orgasm "tricks" us into reproducing so our collective amnesia "fools" us into forgetting the depth of stuff that doesn't comply with consensus reality. We forget and in forgetting we lose so much. Thankfully Fort lives on with help from people like Bennett.
Michael Bywater wrote a piece for The Independent back in February 2000 (probably well forgotten)entitled "Thank God for other worlds". To quote a little of it, talking about dreams - "A fugue, an escape, a retreat into a parallel world? I don't know. I have lived 'there' as long as I have lived 'here'; I am as at home, as known, as acknowledged in the precipitous streets in that eiderdown world as I am here. Sometimes I feel the door closing: it can happen in either world and all I know is that if I cannot get back, cannot move between the two, I will be more than bereft. I will be the subject of a catastrophe.
Take away our dreams and our intellectual history would be unrecognisable. Imagine if we had never dreamed. What would there be to hint that things are not all or entirely as they seem. What would mutter to us of worlds within worlds? How would humanity have developed if nobody had ever woken laughing, or found themselves cast up on the tidal shores of a new day with their cheeks wet with inexplicable tears?"
It is difficult to review "Politics of the Imagination" by Colin Bennett. It ranges far and wide and deep. I need to re-read it. But I know that this is a very important book. The stuff under discussion is elusive and strange. It's like trying to nail down water, but it's worth the effort and I would urge anyone who thinks or wonders beyond the confines of so called reality to get their hands on this book. It's a mind changer. Go get.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Bennett, like Fort, views reality itself as an anomaly to be held in constant question; "explanations," if available at all, are only a superficial means of understanding. Bennett grabs hold of the enigma that is Fort's iconoclasm and doesn't let go. Summoning a mass of scientific and literary esoterica, he writes with impeccable wit, pursuing his quarry with impressive dexterity. "Politics of the Imagination" is a high-calorie intellectual banquet of a book: challenging, learned, and incredibly fun. As long as Bennett is writing, Western empiricism can run, but it can't hide. With a foreword by John Keel, author of "The Mothman Prophecies."
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