New Class Fall 2015 RELS 581/MALAS 600D sec.2 T/TH 2:00pm – 3:15pm Religion, Culture, & Imagination What is it that makes humans the most intelligent of all beings? What is it that both scientists and prophets share in common? What is it that drives us to create, to succeed, and to recognize our destiny? Imagination. It is the imagination of visionaries that is behind the world cultures, and that same imagination has given rise to pyramids or great walls, or precise knowledge of the subatomic or cosmic levels. As once a wise man said, ‘imagination is more important than knowledge.’ The power of imagination is what grounds our experience of the sacred, and our conceptualization of civilization. This class explores how humans have created cultures by means of imagination. From Paleolithic times to modern day fantasies, from fairy-tales to the concept of heaven and hell, humans have used imagination to create a collective reality that we call culture. We will examine the cognitive, psychological, and existential arena of imagination examining classical religious texts, fairy-tales and modern-day fantasies to explore the scope and range of human imagination.
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