Sunday, 28 July 2019

The ishraqi institute Facebook group


The ishrāqī institute is an independent, multicultural and multidisciplinary, virtual, non-profit think-do-and-be tank. Administered, supported and contributed to by unpaid volunteers, its central aim is one of benign human service. You can find the ishrāqī institute at Facebook.

The ishraqui institute.

According to Steingass’s dictionary, in Persian ishrāq means “Rising (of the sun); sun-rise, morning; splendour, lustre, and beauty” and ishrāqī means “Of or pertaining to sun-rise; eastern, oriental; having the splendour of the East.” It also has links to the philosopher Suhrawardī, who founded the Persian school of Illuminationism which is a school of philosophy (and way of being) that flowered in Islam and draws upon Zoroastrian and Platonic ideas. Here, “Oriental” refers not to the geographical East but (according to Henry Corbin), to the mystical, Celestial Orient, the heavenly Pole.

It is our task to explore the many difficulties and crises that we face as individuals and as members of society and the human race; to suggest or offer coping mechanisms and solutions to these issues; to educate the wider public; to help or signpost people to groups, organizations, education and training that will help better prepare them for the changes and difficulties that we are experiencing; and to help, in our own, little way, to usher in a bright new dawn.

As Ursula K. LeGuin wrote in The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction: “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? ... If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

By multidisciplinary, we include not only the obvious arts and sciences, but a wide range of orientations, vocations and callings, including (but not limited to): mythology; creativity; art and poetry; crafts; alternative and appropriate technology and environmentalism; education; traditional and modern psychology and sociology; minority interests and the “off-beat”; cross-cultural study and traditional wisdom; equality and humanitarianism; spirituality and non-dogmatic religion; philosophy; cultural creatives; polymathy; altruism and love; and not least humour – because you never know where a conversation may lead, nor where, from what direction, or from whom, a particular insight or solution may arise.

Our Core Interests


Of particular, core interest to the ishrāqī institute is traditional wisdom, not only of the East but especially the lost knowledge and traditions of the West, such as the pre-Socratic philosophers, Neoplatonism, the Renaissance, Romanticism, and a return to the depths of soul. To get a better flavour of this, we would point our members to the works of Iain McGilchrist (the RSA lecture on the Divided Brain and the epic The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World); Henry Corbin (such as the mundus imaginalis or Imaginal World, not to be confused with the merely imaginary); Tom Cheetham (who is useful in interpreting Corbin’s work, eg The World Turned Inside Out); James Hillman’s Re-Visioning Psychology; Carl Jung; Peter Kingsley’s Reality and Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity; Gary Lachman’s The Secret Teachers of the Western World and Lost Knowledge of the Imagination; and all manner of fiction such Colin Wilson’s The Mind Parasites, and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust, which he has referred to as His Darker Materials.

You may disagree with the examples (these are only feelers or pointers), or the details they contain, but these are the sort of patterns that concern us at the core of our operations. It goes without saying that our members will have a 1,001 alternative and equally – if not more – remarkable suggestions. And it also goes without saying that we are likely to face 1,000 questions for every possible answer we may have, but we all have to start somewhere, and right here and now is as good as any.

So where are we at this moment in time? According to the philosopher, linguist and poet Jean Gebser, we are now in the late-stage (left-brain), deficient mode of the mental-rational structure of consciousness, and things are going wrong and breaking down (Just check out Facebook and Twitter). We can see this with patent clarity in economics, politics, culture, religion and spirituality, and nature. There’s a slim chance that we may transition into the integral (beyond which transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber sees evidence of the mystical), but we foresee many necessary and unfortunate upheavals, and many tears.

The ishrāqī institute has thus been formed in recognition of these many crises that we not only face but are already going through, not least the rise of fundamentalism of whatever persuasion, the failure of neoliberalism, and the rise of partisan and populist politics; the climate emergency, biodiversity breakdown (and the need for rewilding) and the existential threat of the ongoing Sixth Extinction.

However grave these crises are, however, these are merely symptoms of various maladies with deeper and complex roots, and it to those roots that the institute’s concern, attention and activity is chiefly drawn.

Welcome!


As well as talking about the topics and issues that concern us here, please feel to share your experience, to experiment, and also to post items such as art, poetry, music, dance, humour, teaching stories, mythology, and other forms of creativity, to actually stimulate and exercise our senses and yearning, such as those of beauty, wonder, imagination, connection, and love.

If that sounds good to you, and you feel that you would like to make a positive contribution to the work of the ishrāqī institute, welcome! Please feel free to join us. And if you’d prefer to quietly browse, without obligation, that's quite okay with us. You can find the ishrāqī institute at Facebook.

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