Ibn 'Arabi Society Lecture Series: An Afternoon with Todd Lawson

Saturday, May 7th 2016, 3:00pm

Water, Light, Knowledge: Towards an Ecology of Imagination

Todd Lawson

Water and Light pervade the writings of Ibn 'Arabi as they do the Quran itself. In the poetic literalism of Ibn 'Arabi's discourse, these everyday realities are frequently involved in specific events of knowing. Knowledge appears to be built upon water and light. Water and Light are also essential "hormones of the imagination" – they are elements of the natural realm that lead us beyond nature.

The living "natural" cosmos and everything in it, according to Ibn 'Arabi, is the imaginal (not imaginary) projection of the divine. Imagination is the single most powerful divine activity and it issues in what is frequently referred to in scripture as "creation". Humankind participate in this activity through the imagination which issues in the most stirring and transformative instances of knowing. The light of the imagination draws us together to the primal scene of our collective beginning on the Day of the Covenant (Q 7:172), the birthplace of time, history and consciousness where we were all gathered in the divine presence – in Quranic language much loved and venerated by Ibn 'Arabi, where "all are created from the same water” (Q 21:30).

The poetic dynamics of water and light in the Quran and Ibn 'Arabi's writings generates a poetic and experiential music of remembrance, recognition and knowledge through which the revelation of our common humanity is nourished, our sense of our common dependence upon the Real is articulated and deepened, and our common engagement with the imaginal realm illumined and guided.

A $15 dollar donation is suggested when registering for this event.

Where: The Gallery Room, Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley, CA 94707 

When: 3pm, Saturday May 7, 2016

The talk "Water, Light, Knowledge: Towards an Ecology of Imagination" will be followed by a refreshment break and discussion.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union