“Imagination disciplined by data” as the destiny of (most?) scholars

Those within a particular community have had, and continue to have, a sense of the whole. Those studying from outside will progress toward greater understanding both by careful study of particular texts and rituals and by imaginative efforts to reconstruct the shape of the larger Vaiṣṇava community in particular periods. Imagination disciplined by data is necessary to see the larger picture, but our study involves much guess work that our successors may deem to be far off the track of either scholarly understanding or spiritual discernment. (Carman 2007, p. 73)

Independently of what you do, and of whether you specialise in formal logic or applied medicine, do you identify yourself with this definition of scholarly work?

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2 thoughts on ““Imagination disciplined by data” as the destiny of (most?) scholars

  1. Imagination or rather a suppleness of thought willing to let go of its cognitive blocks is essential to get to heart of any new field of study. However I feel imagination, the faculty that Einstein I believe, placed above mere reason, is only one more instrument of cognition available to us.

    But while this suggestion might be applicable to most fields of study, in the field of spirituality it is but one step before one gets to intuition and other modes of direct perception of knowledge of a given thing.

    So, I see the truth of that statement and also see its limitations. While approaching Hindu philosophy(this word itself is troublesome…but guess will tackle that some other time), the experience is paramount..the first hand experience of the state of consciousness spoken about in the works..the cultural/social implications are a definite secondary consideration. But most approaching these body of works seem to be satisfied with mental understanding.