From “The Queen’s Gambit”

In “The Queen’s Gambit”, currently showing on Netflix in the U.S., the protagonist Beth Harmon, a young orphan is first introduced to the game of chess by observing from a distance. Having activated what develops into a genius for the game, she uses the stimulant and relaxant drugs her orphanage requires to activate her imagination to run through games and moves.

A sometimes demeaned phenomenon, imagination is present and available to anyone with only a shift of attention and a willingness to trust this arational aspect of knowing. As a form of knowing imagination follows logic that does not apply to rational knowing.

(Mild spoiler ahead!) Beth’s dependence on the drugs for this imaginative process runs throughout the story until near the end she discovers she can, and must in this instance, use her imagination in this way without the drugs. For me, this was one of the best parts of an engaging and entertaining story.

For one scholarly and enlightening explanation of the logics of rationality verses arationality see: Gregory Bateson, “Style, Grace, and Information in Primitive Art”, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind. 1972

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen’s_Gambit_(miniseries)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steps_to_an_Ecology_of_Mind?wprov=sfti1

Imagination and Health

June 17, 2020

Rossman Interview Clip

 

Imagination’s Healing Power: A short clip of an interview with Dr. Martin L. Rossman

https://thehealingmind.org/blogs/the-healing-mind-audio-and-video-sessions/dr-martin-interview-on-the-healing-together-podcast

The Flying DrumThe Flying Drum by Bradford P. Keeney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keeney is a therapist who used systems theory and cybernetics and had a national reputation with several publications in the 80’s. He was a student of Gregory Bateson and Heinz von Foerster. He has developed a radical approach to therapy which is deeply informed and shaped by shamanism.

If you are interested in this, there is an engaging podcast available that I would recommend with an interview with Keeney by Tami Simon of Sounds True. Here is a link to this podcast.

“The Flying Drum” book is a fast read. He tells his personal story of his own “professional” development and describes his way he met with shamans from all around the world, received initiations and instructions, and brings what he learned to the world. It is literally fantastic, operating in that domain of what seems unbelievable and yet here in direct experience.

While the book has similarities to New Age books like those of Lynn Andrews, etc., it feels to have more substance and is more grounded in ordinary reality while not shy of stories of the seeming impossible. It is also a bit like Carlos Casteneda’s books with many descriptions of encounters and personal experiences but without going into as much of the detail of the stories of his contact with the shamans.

I found this book to be validating and inspiring.