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Lost Knowledge of the Imagination

Gary Lachman

208 pp.  
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"

Floris Books


Published:  January 2018


Imagination is a core aspect of being human. Our imagination allows us to fully experience ourselves in relation to the world and reality. Imagination plays a key role in creativity and innovation.

Since the seventeenth century, however, imagination has been sidelined and dismissed as ‘make believe’. Four centuries ago, a new way of knowing the world and ourselves emerged in the west and has gone on to dominate human life: science. Imagination has been marginalized—depicted as a way of escaping reality, rather than coming to grips with it—and its significance to our humanity has been downplayed.

Yet as we move further into the strange new world of the twenty-first century, the need to regain this lost knowledge seems more necessary that ever before.

This insightful and inspiring book argues that, for the sake of the future of our world, we must redress the balance. Through the work of Owen Barfield, Goethe, Henry Corbin, Kathleen Raine, and others, and ranging from the teachings of ancient mystics to the latest developments in neuroscience, The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination introduces the reader to a philosophy and tradition that restores imagination to its rightful place, and argues that it is not only essential to our knowing reality to the full, but to our very humanity itself.

“Lachman is always immensely readable” —Philip Pullman

“Gary Lachman...writes about philosophical and mystical ideas with exceptional grace, forcefulness and clarity” —Michael Dirda, Washington Post

“Lachman...manages to make basic concepts in esoteric philosophy and history lively as well as readable.” —Kirkus Review

“Lachman creates a history of ideas that fascinates and excites.” —New York Journal of Books

“The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination rejoins the parted Red Sea of modern intellect, demonstrating how rationalism and esotericism are not divided forces but necessary complements and parts of a whole in the human wish for understanding. Let’s be done, once and for all, with the shallow and misdirected notion that reason and mysticism are at odds. Lachman demonstrates their harmony.” —Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life

Related Titles

  • The Light (La Luce) : An Introduction to Creative Imagination
  • A Way of Seeing : Perception, Imagination, and Poetry
  • A Secret History of Consciousness

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Esoteric: Esoteric Studies and Esoteric: General