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Transdisciplinary approach of imagination and angels--the transcultural hidden third: from Andrei Plesu to Basarab Nicolescu.

1. Introduction: contemporary social fragmentation; similarities between specialization and dogma

There is a need in today's society for a transcendental source of support and safety as a solution against an insecure, fragmented against itself and thus destabilizing world. The generalized state of insecurity springs from a rather absurd deepening of relativity as a trade-mark of the one-dimensional/ one track-mindedness of the modern man. Living in late modernity, as Anthony Giddens puts it, has the feeling of riding a juggernaut: "Understanding the juggernaut-like nature of modernity goes a long way towards explaining why, in conditions of high modernity, crisis becomes normalized." (1) The crisis-prone nature of late modernity brings about disturbing and unsettling states of mind within individuals by exposing everyone to a diversity of crisis situations which threatens the very core of self-identity. In the Giddensian interpretative framework, religion remains the supreme example of inner regenerative power.
   In modern times some forms of traditional authority continue to
   exist, including, of course religion. Indeed, for reasons that are
   to do precisely with the connections between modernity and doubt,
   religion not only refuses to disappear, but undergoes a resurgence.
   (2) Yet there is now a basic contrast with the past. Forms of
   traditional authority become only 'authorities' among others, part
   of an indefinite pluralism of expertise. (3)

Anthony Giddens points out clearly that there is a need for a flexible and creative approach to the religious experience, one permitting a more creative personal evolution throughout various cultural patterns (evolution which finds its most effective and synthetic expression in what is called "faith"), and which would not exhaust its potential and perspective in an interpretation or another:
   What creates a sense of ontological security that will carry the
   individual through transitions, crises and circumstances of high
   risk? Trust in the existential anchoring of reality in an
   emotional, and to some degree in a cognitive, sense rests on
   confidence in the reliability of persons, (...) The experience of
   basic trust is the core of that specific 'hope' of which Ernst
   Bloch speaks, and is at origin of what Tillich calls 'the courage
   to be'. (...) Basic trust is connected in an essential way to the
   interpersonal organization of time and space. (4)

Fragmentation (5) produces mono-dimensional attitudes and the artistic (in the sense of creative and innovative) act and part of our daily lives got to be relegated to a simple and derisory cliche:
   Providential interpretations of history were major elements of
   Enlightenment culture, and it is not surprising that their residues
   are still to be found in modes of thinking in day-to-day life.
   Attitudes to high-consequence risks probably often retain strong
   traces of a providential outlook. We may live in an apocalyptic
   world, facing an array of global dangers; yet an individual might
   feel that governments, scientists or other technical specialists
   can be trusted to make the appropriate steps to counter them. Or
   else he feels that 'everything is bound to come out all right in
   the end. (6)

Ann Alden, one of the leading commentators of the religious aspects within Giddens's work shows the similarity in structure of both specialization and dogma:
   In my opinion compartmentalizing (if there is any, in the strict
   sense) suffers from the same shortcomings as does claims of
   absolute truth where reason is not welcome as a critical voice.
   Both exclude or provide very little room for critical reasoning, a
   situation which leaves the individual believer in a vulnerable
   position. (...) In modernity we live guided by the knowledge and
   the insights at hand, conditioned by reflexivity. (7)

The keystone of philosophy it is its fundamentally "unresolved openness" [Unabgeschlossenheit]--the virtue of fallibleness (as Karl Popper called it), that is, a constitutive virtue and a pro-active way of avoiding falling back in a totalitarian visions that would surely enclose a society upon itself.

2. Applications on the theories of the interval: a dialogue and a transfer of meaning between religion and science

The phenomenon of creativity and inspiration takes place in the zone between ideologies, dogmas and various types of expertise. In such mediating places the dynamic of the shifts is very intense as it is based on constant interpretation. Faith (also understood as trust) and motivation appear as dialogical syntheses meant to provide the antidote for the risk-induced anxiety of the modern world (with all its cohort of misfortunes: passive nihilism, alienation, estrangement, lack of motivation etc). And trust alone can connect the self back to itself.
   There is (...) an ontology of the interval, a 'gradation' of it,
   that the image of the ladder from Jacob's vision suggests in a
   unmediated manner. Between God and the man there are steps,
   'havens', different ontological densities, as there is between the
   man and anorganic matter intermediate kingdoms (...) The angels
   (...) reduce the distance that separates us from the absolute to a
   sequence of plausible segments. The angels are the filter of
   mystical knowledge. [...] Angelology [...] establishes the stages
   of a path and recommends the guiding of some intermediate beings,
   which control the thresholds between stages.

   As simple hybrids, arbitrary entities composed of elements borrowed
   from God and elements lent to the man, the angels pass, for [...]
   modern world, to the category of the imaginary. The offensive of
   the dichotomies begins. A thing can be either real or unreal. The
   imaginary is unreal. Thus, angels do not exist, and God is once
   again exiled in the nebulous and unapproachable territory of the
   maxim of remoteness. (8)

Dichotomies appear in the form of binary oppositions of the sort: 'yes' and 'no', 'either--or'--while the possibility of an integrity that could simultaneously be both 'yes' and 'no', and which could make an integrated and functional connection between 'yes' and 'no' is excluded. And this is the condition of the enrolled modern man called by Herbert Marcuse the "one dimensional man."

In this essay we will place God beyond and above all possible levels of reality, and we will assume Him through the angelic instances, as voices of God, and as elements capable to transcend the possible worlds, and the layers of reality while mediating the distance between man and God.

At the level of this intermediate zone there is a protective screen (represented by angels), a permeable and selective membrane that insures the 'exchanges' between humans and divinity. The universalizing and globalizing experience is rendered possible solely through the understanding (and the afferent correct integration) of the dynamics and possibilities of these intermediate zones.

We will comprehend this membrane as the channel of communication between man and God and we will invest it with the liberty of movement and creation that the Democritian (9) space is known to bring about.

Language in itself is impossible without this channel of communication--it is the space where the linguistic peacock displays the entire beauty of its plumage, and from the beauty of the possibility of this unfolding our inspiration and creative force emerges. The fragmentation and the separation introduced by the formalism of modernism completely suppress this space or it substitutes it with a wall. The angel transforms this wall into a mobile and adaptable borderline within which the entities, although they interpenetrate, still remain distinct--as it is the case in the Kantian logic of the synthesis between faculties which, although already inside the synthesis, do maintain a sufficient degree of individuality.

Thus, the stake of Andrei Plesu's thesis is to demonstrate that the interstitial spaces (the spaces of the various densities Being of the transcendental) are simultaneously hermeneutical, dialogical, angelic, and spaces of synthesis (however, one should notice it is not the case of a Hegelian synthesis but of a synthesis after the model of the mobile and adaptable borderline, inside which the elements, although they enter in complex networks of exchanges, still remain distinct and individuated) of different wave length and of different ontological frequencies. To put it in a simpler manner, Hermes equals Angel and it further equals the highest degree of Kantian apperception. The angel is the catalyst that facilitates the passage of God into the world; it is the one who brings inspiration and creativity for humans. Although, from a theological point of view (Christian, Jewish or Islamic) the angels themselves are not living beings, they do manage to invest a living quality to the channel (medium) of communication between God and the man. This channel is the language becoming alive, with an "organic structure" of its own (that is, independent by our reason in its evolution); and so, in order to better understand the link between inspiration, creativity and a living presence of the language within ourselves, what we have to do is to consult the autobiography of the great novelists:
   I have never found myself thinking much about the work that I had
   to do till I was doing it. I have indeed for many years almost
   abandoned the effort to think, trusting myself, with the narrowest
   thread of a plot, to work the matter out when the pen is in my
   hand. (10)

The most important emphasis within Andrei Plesu's book is that this intermediate level, where the transcendence is realized effectively and affectively, is nothing else but the very level of the soul--the anima, the zone that only functions in a creative and personal manner--the connector that gives ontological consistency and functional viability to the whole; the element which links the body and the spirit inside a live and functional unity. Thus, the angel is the transcendental analogue of our transcendent soul:
   Angelology [...] as a discipline of the interval, it addresses the
   'interval' within the man, meaning to his animic (A.N. from anima)
   level, placed between the body and the spirit. The human soul is a
   latent angel (...) It can 'activate' itself as a whole angelic
   entity only to the extent that it defuses its other 'latency': its
   demonic latency.

   [...] However, in his effort, the soul is not alone before its own
   determination. It is assisted by its 'celestial counterpart', by
   the perfect expression of his nature, a sort of a sublime alter ego
   which serves it as landmark and collaborator. In consequence, our
   inner life is acohabitation, the soul-like existence is a
   cohabitation, an unceasing dialogue between our earthly soul and
   its 'angelic' counterpart.

   Taken seriously, angelology could add to the 'abyssal' psychology,
   which constantly valorizes undergrounds, nocturnal and at times,
   impersonal levels, of our psychic organism, a phenomenology of the
   heights, attentive to the 'luminous', aural zone, profoundly
   personalized of the sole. The study of the 'roots' of the
   conscience would, thus, complete itself, with an evaluation of its
   'nimbus'. A veritable 'psychology of the heights' would be
   interested not only by 'what motivates us', but also by 'what
   inspires us'. (...) (11)

Although falling into the trap of locating the rich potential of the interval into a culturally-canonic formula ("angelology"), Andrei Plesu reveals, in this passage from his innovative treaty on angels, the most important aspect involved in the issue, by showing that the soul (and his transcendental analogue, the angel) has fallen in disgrace and derision because of modernity's formalism mirrored in and perpetuated by its generalized mass production systems, which have atrophied man's creative instinct while throwing him in the commodity of the routine of binary logic (the 'either ... or', 'neither ... nor' type of routine). The high consequences of an interiorized binary system of thinking and acting, together with the non-acceptance of a third possible way, are detailed by Basarab Nicolescu in his study What is Reality?, with direct references to the historical religious roots of this mind-set and also to its contemporary consequences for the nations' spiritual health which should be materialized in wise and tolerant politics. The latter consequences being the absolutizing of all relativizations and an utter denial of the transcendental as constitutive level of existence:
   However, on the social level, the logic of the excluded middle acts
   as a true logic of exclusion: good or evil, right or left, women or
   men, rich or poor, white or black. It would be enlightening to
   conduct a review of xenophobia, racialism, antisemitism or
   nationalism in the light of the logic of the excluded middle.

   Today we live in a full pornographic fornication of the binary
   thinking. The binary logic of the absolute truth and of the
   absolute falsity acts with an immodesty that leaves one speechless.
   'The battle of Good against Evil/ 'God is with us!'-so many slogans
   that make the crowds buzz into approvals and culminate with this
   incredible statement that sets out, without knowing it, a
   well-known Leninist slogan: 'Whoever is not with us is against us

   It is interesting to note the inversion operated by the
   totalitarian thinking towards the known statement from the New
   Testament: 'For whoever is not against us is for us.' (Mark 9:40).
   In the Epistle to the Romans (8:31), Saint Paul explains the
   meaning of this statement: 'Brethren, if God is on our side, who
   can be against us?'. (...) Killed in the name of God is God. (...)
   The murder of the transcendence is the fulfillment of the binary
   thinking. The relative becomes an absolute, so that it becomes
   possible to affirm anything and its opposite. (12)

The presence of a third term, that is independent of all binary systems, creates a fertile interval, that is, it inserts a "cannula" into all previous homogenous and hermetic monolithic structures and brings fresh "air" therein in the form of perspectives (perspectives gained by means of creativity and imagination): "... the faculty which normally mediates our access towards the heavenly hierarchies is a faculty of the soul: the imagination." (13)

This included middle manifests itself at the level of creativity and expressiveness by means of which it opens up society towards superior levels of the self and of the ethos--levels rendered metaphorically by Andrei Plesu by the syntagm "heavenly hierarchies". Through its vivid (not in a biological sense but at the level of cause and effect) presence this included middle triggers phenomena of actualization or activation by means of which the levels of Reality "osmotically" agglutinate into a coherent and cohesive unified and functional (operational) open structure. A structure can be said to be open to evolution--in the sense of it assimilating new properties. According to Humberto Maturana the domain of existence of a simple or of a composite unity must be interpreted as "the domain of the operational coherences" within which distinctions make sense: "In other words, domain of existence of a simple unity is the domain of operational validity of the properties that define it as such, and the domain of existence of a composite unity is the domain of operational validity of the properties of the components that constitute it (...)." (14) And, speaking together with Maturana of a "convergence of the theories of knowledge (as the title of the respective German collection of text says "Konvergenz der Erkenntnistheorien"), we could say that the active presence of an included middle realizes, by means of imagination, a functional and viable reciprocity of opposites" at the level of contemporary epistemology:
   The logic of the included middle is able to describe the coherence
   between the levels of Reality, through the iterative process that
   involves the following steps: 1. A couple of contradictories (A,
   non-A) located at a certain level of reality is unified by a T
   state located at a next level of reality; 2. In turn, this T state
   (15) is linked to a couple of contradictories (A1, non-A'),
   situated at its own level; 3. The couple of contradictories (A1,
   non-A') is, in turn, unified by a T' state that is located at a
   different level of Reality, the immediate neighbor of the level
   where the ternary is located (A1, non-A', T). The iterative process
   continues indefinitely, until the exhaustion of all the known or
   imaginable levels of reality. In other words, the action of the
   logic of the included middle on the different levels of reality
   induces an open, godelian structure of the ensemble of reality
   levels. This structure has a considerable influence on the theory
   of knowledge, because it implies the impossibility of a complete
   theory, closed upon itself.

   Indeed, according to the axiom of non-contradiction, the T state
   achieves the unification of the couple of contradictories (A,
   non-A), but it is also associated with another couple of
   contradictories (A' and non-A'). This means that we can build,
   starting from a number of mutually contradictory couples, a new
   theory, which eliminates the contradictions from one level of
   reality, but this theory is only temporary, because it will
   inevitably lead, under the combined pressure of the theory and the
   experience, to the discovery of a new couple of contradictories,
   located at a new level of reality. In turn, this theory will be
   replaced, as new levels of reality will be discovered, with still
   more unified theories. This process will continue indefinitely
   without ever being able to reach a completely unified theory. The
   axiom of non-contradiction comes increasingly stronger from this
   process. In this sense, without ever reaching an absolute
   non-contradiction, we can speak of an evolution of knowledge,
   involving all levels of Reality: knowledge is always open. (16)

Thus, a ternary logic is a logic that defies absurdity and establishes a functional model within society, an open model with a superior assimilative, integrative and thus unifying potential:
   The real entity can thus reveal some contradictory aspects that are
   incomprehensible, even absurd from a logical point of view based on
   the assumption 'either this one or the other one.' These
   contradictory aspects cease to be absurd in a logic based on the
   assumption 'both this one and the other one', or rather 'neither
   this one nor the other one'. (17)

Thus we see that the up-mentioned routine is the routine of the predetermined and perspectiveless patterns of "evolution"--patterns biased by the past experience and, practically, locked by and in this very past experience (that is, unable to evolve, assimilate or integrate). Such models are not able to respond to deeper needs of the human being (which are, in fact, those fragile nuances which assure man's mental equilibrium), nor to grasp the multi functional and trans-conditioned complexity of existence in this world.

The level of the soul (with its transcendental [culturally acknowledged] analogue, the angel) is the level of the imagination. Mundus imaginalis (18) as the catalytic third secretly hidden is inaccessible in a direct manner but its interstitial presence (in the point of convergence and synthesis of the levels of reality, in their vortex) changes the dynamic of the meaning of the human reality and even decides the orbit of its movement. It is the sine qua non condition for one's re-skilling (back) into himself by means of an authentically dialogical (multi- and trans-connected) approach of reality. The stake is a trans-cultural functionality, the demonstration of the existence of a common liberty space (the Democritian void that insures the possibility of movement) where our imagination (with its climax in what is generally acknowledged as "vision") can unfold and vascularize itself into a prolific, impinging and trespassing unified reality of functionally complemented values in the form of edifying variables (meant to encourage intellectual, moral and spiritual improvements visible in Karl Popper's formula of "Unabgeschlossenheit"). Such a reality, as Corin Braga shows, can only reach its cohesion and coherence as a historically-synthesized conceptual complex gravitating around a vivifying unity of actualization:
   (...)' l'imaginal', or 'mundus imaginalis' (written in Latin), has
   its roots in an alternative tradition of the concept of
   imagination. Most surprisingly, Plato's philosophy, which
   depreciated images as copies of copies, also gave birth to another
   tradition, forged by his late disciple Plotinus in the 3rd century
   A.C.E. As is well known, Plotinus reorganized Plato's metaphysics
   in an emanation system, in which from the first principle, the One,
   derive, through successive emanations, the cosmic Intellect, the
   cosmic soul, and the material world. In this triadic system, the
   cosmic soul (Anima mundi) corresponds to the human psyche, and so
   to the human sentiments, passions, impulses and fantasy. Because of
   its consubstantiality to the Anima mundi, human imagination is no
   longer deprived, in Neo-Platonism, of ontological reality.

   During the Middle Ages, while classical philosophy was 'forgotten'
   in Europe, the Muslims inherited, among other classical concepts,
   the Neo-Platonist emanation system. In Sufi mysticism, there are
   three levels of reality: the intelligible world of the One, an
   intermediary world, in which intelligible beings appear as
   individual figures, and the sensible world of the body and matter.
   The intellectual reality is accessible to pure intellect, the
   intermediary reality to visionary imagination, (19) and the
   material reality to the senses. Contrary to physiological
   imagination, which produces unreal fictions, the visionary
   imagination has access to a transcendent reality. Angels, heavens,
   cities of God, etc., described in mystical visions, are ontological
   manifestations of the One. In order to describe these
   metapsychological representations, the French philosopher Henry
   Corbin, who studied extensively the mystic experiences of Persian
   Zoroastrians and of Shiite Muslims, called them imaginales,
   ontologically real, in opposition to imaginaires, fictitious. He
   also called the intermediary level of reality mundus imaginalis
   (Corbin, 1958). (20)

Mundus imaginalis, as a fertile intermediate zone, becomes a host for the processes of authentication. The history of the affirmation of the imagination as man's supreme faculty--capable to connect the transcendental with the transcendent (to provide a communicational channel between the two / to bring them in a state of dialogue)--is the history of man constructing, harmonizing and organizing interactively within himself (even at the biological level of the brain, by means of a wise and creative use of the possibilities offered by language (21)) and within the ethos of his society (by means of a wise and creative use of public discourse as exercise into consensus) a catalyst-like space of movement and projection capable to essentialize the otherwise void and biasing space from in-between faculties. This space is popularly and unscientifically associated with the "supernatural"--when it is in fact a phenomenological and even psychological actively-constitutive topos about which Andrei Plesu goes as far as to say that it is an inner faculty specially created for perceiving other trans-dimensions of reality. As stated above, this zone becomes accessible if activated by imagination as a vivifying unity of actualization synthesized and refined culturally throughout the centuries and cultures:
   (...) is the intermediate world between the world of the bodies (of
   material existence) and the world of the pure Intellect, of the
   spiritual existences. It is, following, the world of the soul, a
   world where the spirit and the body interpenetrate, a world of
   images, imaginai, but as little imaginary as the world that flank
   it. It is in this world that the 'visions' occur, the
   'revelations', theophanies of all sort and the posthumous
   resurrection of the souls. In this world where there is no space
   and where time is reversible, the Absolute descends as much as it
   is necessary in order to show itself to its creatures. [...] This
   is the world of the angels. [...] Mundus imaginalis is at the
   boundary which separates the exteriority from the interiority. In
   order to manifest itself, it needs the imagination's contribution
   of 'vera', of 'activating' of a inner faculty specially created for
   perceiving it. Without the intervention of this faculty, the
   imaginai world is simply a virtual existence, it is the external
   universe for a blind man. (22)

According to professor Virgil Ciomos, this is a new mobile and mobilizing space of movement between the acknowledged Kantian faculties of cognition, a space of freedom and expression influencing those faculties but still being able to resist any kind of assimilation of its potential into one of the faculties which it mediates (being able to maintain its identity-giving condition inherent to any active limit (23)):
   (...) we can not (simply) reduce the Kantian experience to that of
   a simple--static--assuming of the limit (...). Therefore, if we
   were to determine philologically the Kantian experience, we would
   rather say that it is, at the same time, Greek and Latin since,
   once assumed(em-peiria), the limit allows us, however, a certain
   architectonic 'shift' (ex-perientia).

   The transition ... be-falls, however, (and so to speak) only as
   long' as we are at, or better said, in the limit, that is,
   precisely in [a.n. full] transition (...). For just as long as we
   are inside the limit, can we 'overcome' it. Or vice versa: we can
   'overcome' the limit only by somehow remaining 'in' it. (24)

3. The management of illusion (fantasy, fantasying, imagination, illusion and reflexivity)

Imagination is the supreme faculty of the humans as it allows us to integrate experiences in our trans-horizontal self and to "read" such experiences in a progressive and constitutive key, regardless of the orbit or the coordinates on which the Dasein's openness toward the Sein takes place (we will understand "openness" as curiosity, passion, motivation, revelation). Imagination must not be confused with fantasy (a first manifestation of the larger phenomenon of creativity), fantasying or with fancy (extravagant, sudden and capricious ideas, curiosities and inclinations are snobbishly/"snobbishly" allowed into becoming a tired baroque overflowing) and, if we were to contextualize it religiously and socially, we would bring into discussion liturgy within which, far from being a passive "art for art's sake" hedonistic self-indulging moment (fantasying), without an altruistic moral social value, imagination becomes a must, an active tool meant to creatively assure a connection with superior levels of reality by means of picturing transcendent and transcendental landscapes and of interpreting their value in our systems of motivation. Imagination helps us understand, anticipate and hypostasize.

Fantasy as opposed to Fantasying is the first step one has to undergo in order to become imaginative and thus creative (and this is obvious from the simple and all-available observation according to which every bodily experience is accompanied by a nascent unconscious imaginary or fantasy component):
   Fantasy means--to some people a manipulated affair rather like what
   a child's comic is to a child. But fantasy goes deep into the
   personal inner psychic reality ... It is all the time making the
   individual's actual experience rich and real to them. In this way
   everything under the sun can be found in the individual and the
   individual is able to feel the reality of whatever is actual and
   desirable. (25)

D.W. Winnicott draws an important distinction between fantasy, fantasying, and dreaming in the realm of inner reality, according to which dreams and reality operate at the same level of authenticity but day-dreams (fantasying) remain an abnormality failing to fit any functional pattern within human personality.
   [there is] ... an essential difference ... between fantasying and
   the alternatives of dreaming on the one hand and of real living and
   relating to real objects on the other. With unexpected clarity,
   dreaming and living have been seen to be of the same order,
   day-dreaming being of another order. Dream fits into objects
   relating in the real world and living in the real world fits into
   the dream world in ways that are quite familiar. By contrast
   however, fantasying remains an isolated phenomenon, absorbing
   energy but not contributing-in either to dreaming or living. (26)

By this expression (fantasying), together with Winnicott, we will understand a phenomenon of day-dreaming meant to fill-in some acute gaps, shortages and absences in a person's life (wishes and psychological needs); an essentially compensatory "faculty" meant to balance out and make up for things that are otherwise highly improbable to ever happen in that person's life. As such, fantasying functions as a spiritual balm and psychological bandage and it consists in allowing yourself to "flow with the stream" without responsibility or care for the consequences of such permissivenesses (and the most notorious consequences appear when they seriously affect our concentration and efficiency). Being compensatory it is usually an automatic instinct for balancing on the part of our being--so one may fall into it without always notice what happens with him/her. Fantasizing is perceived by Winnicott as the activity that paralyses the ability to dream: (...) fantasizing was a dead end. It had no poetic value. The corresponding dream however had poetry in it, that is to say, layer upon layer of meaning related to past present and future and to inner and outer and always fundamentally about herself. (27)

Yet, the worst thing about fantasying is not its abnormality and incapacity to contribute constitutively in the shaping of a personality. When one is fantasying he breaks from himself, somehow against himself as the fantasying individual is out of contact with reality, prisoner of a mental no-man's-land and thus unable to get out of this neutralized and sterile area and re-attach himself to some functional value. Thus, "fantasy" stands in opposition to "fantasying". And here is the heart of the reactor of creativity: the problem of illusion. As Winnicott perfectly shows, illusion is the raw material of all the up-mentioned phenomena: fantasy, fancy, fantasying, imagination, creativity, skill. And here is the very place where the Giddensian notion of reflexivity enters into play as we realize that it all amounts to a wise and appropriate (pragmatic) management of illusion. Modernity, in its progressive aspects is reflexive and thus creative because it uses illusion in a wise manner. Such a use of illusion gives us the much praised << self-identity >> as it transforms risks into opportunities (this ability is called by Giddens << skill >>).

But, a bad management of illusion becomes the equivalent of a good medicine taken in overdoses and it transforms risks into opportunities for dogmas or rigid and tyrannical cannons of social security (at a collective level) or into painful personal dramas (at a personal level). (28) A bad management of illusion brings anxiety and it always ends up in fragmentation, alienation, and isolation--just as, at an inner level, fantasying created dissociation.

Casparus Vos does not make a distinction between fantasy and fantasying, wrongly interpreting fantasy as day-dreaming instead of what Winnicott's psychoanalysis has proven it to be--that is a first palpable manifestation of creativity that needs to reflexivity in order to be profitably and trans-culturally and trans-contextually developed):
   Imagination is something other than fantasy. Fantasy is an escape
   from reality [a.n. here is the only but still important mistake
   within Vos's analysis--otherwise a perfect diagnosis], whereas
   imagination expands and enriches reality. [...] The liturgy leaves
   space for imagination. In this space our relationships with God,
   our neighbor and the world can be creatively explored and deepened.
   This imagination brings people into contact with the kingdom of God
   where we find not solely peace but also discord, conflict and pain.
   The believer sees God as being present and working within the
   given, visible human reality. (29) Imagination makes it possible
   for us to encounter and experience God in his different, guises'
   under different circumstances. [...] The imaginative impulses in
   the liturgy can grow into an imaginative life within the community.
   That means that the faith-community enters the public domain by
   concentrating on moral integrity and offering this as a
   contribution to public life (Stanley Hauerwas). But this
   contribution cannot take the form of demands. The faith-community
   must approach the world at large with openness and respect. Society
   must be convinced and persuaded that certain values make sense and
   give meaning to life. (30)

4. Elements of trans-mission and connection: angels as Hidden Third and as "living" presence of the medium

Thus, Marshall McLuhan's formula 'the medium is the message' offers us the key regarding the angels' role inside the agglutination of sense: the medium functions at the level of the articulations (in all possible ways, as conductor, accelerator, moderator, potentiometer and so on) while assuring, in an active manner, the creative combination of elements:
   The angels, however, solve together with the proximity crisis also
   the crisis of the interval. They give consistence and life to this
   space, transmitting to the man God's signs and to God they transmit
   the man's prayers. (31) [...] And the function of the angel is the
   very one of constantly covering, through a double movement, the
   interval between the earth and the sky. It is the Old Testament's
   vision of Jacob's ladder (Genesis 2812): 'And he dreamt that it
   appeared to be a ladder, propped by the earth and with its top it
   touched the sky; and God's angels were climbing and descending on
   it.' [....] The solution of the Embodiment of the God that became
   man is nothing but the heroic, exceptional version of the same
   'procedure'. By taking--through Jess Christ--a human face, God
   annuls the distance between himself and his creature through a
   massive, unrepeatable decision, according to the measure of the
   gravity of the human sin. But, 'the daily life' of angels, their
   ascend and descent on Jacob's ladder, is a way of anticipating the
   event of the Embodiment, a way of preparing and maintaining it,
   constantly 'in the act' [in vivo and not in vivo]. [...] The role
   of this intermediate register is to 'elucidate and bear people's
   things to the gods and gods' things to the people; prayers and
   offerings from beneath, demands and rewards from above.' (32)

Together with the angels understood as Hidden Third we enter the territory of the transcultural.

The trans-culture (which we will place at the level of the angels' action) proposes to grasp the convergent unity of all cultural elements (past, present and possible) and the level of a third element of transposing; to bring unity and diversity in a dynamic relation within which the main word is 'and' (and unity, and diversity) however without trying for even one moment to claim the status of "the only culture out there" or of a super-culture. The trans-culture is not properly a culture in the standard meaning of the term but it does guide the possibility of culture. The transculture is, in our opinion, the main accomplishment and direction of the development within transdiciplinarity.

Transdiciplinarity remains a methodology, a pure functionality without falling into the inevitable schematism of a certain philosophy or another.

Like the angel, the Hidden Third, as it was represented by Basarab Nicolescu, appears in this equation as an interface between the subject and the object, not having to do properly neither with the subject nor with the object, and not even with an eventual divine origin or climax of the syntheses or synesthesia of the two. The Hidden Third is a particular element in the sense that it solely offers the possibility for a dialogue between antagonisms, and does not replace them, nor does it synthesize them. The Hidden Third is an accelerator which we will use to create perspectival spaces.

In the same time it behaves as a catalyst, therefore a substance that accelerates or decelerates a chemical reaction, without it itself to be modified. The Hidden Third assures the connection (through mobile bridges) between different levels of reality: a and non-a project themselves on another level of reality, through a phenomena of paradox, of coincidentia oppositorum, of oxymoron (which is not itself a Hidden Third by solely a necessary gate towards this Hidden Third, or better said the key that opens the gate of this Hidden Third). T= Hidden Third, which thanks to an oxymoronic phenomenon is simultaneously an 'a' and a 'non-a'.


Surpassing an opposition that belongs to the binary logic of the type a is not non-a--opposition from our daily reality level (RL2)--is realized on another reality level (RL1) through a phenomenon of projection:
   In order to obtain a clear image of the sense of the included third
   (34) let us represent the three elements of the new logic, A, non/A
   and T, and their associated dynamisms by using a triangle of which
   one of the corners is situated on one level of Reality, and the
   other two corners are situated on another level of Reality. Should
   we remain on a single reality level, any manifestation would appear
   as a struggle between two contradictory elements (...). The third
   dynamism, the one of the T state, is exercised on a different level
   of Reality, where that which appeared as separated (...) is
   actually a united fact (...), and that which appears contradictory
   is perceived as noncontradictory.

   The appearance (35) of antagonistic couples, mutually exclusive (A
   and non-A), is produced precisely by the projection of T on the one
   and the same level of Reality. The one and the same level of
   reality cannot generate but antagonistic oppositions. It is,
   through its nature, self-destructive, if it is completely separated
   by the other levels of Reality. (36)

At the very level of these separations religion intervenes as a connector of consciences into a higher level of apperception and trust (a generalized sense and feeling of security, solidarity and belonging into this world):
   The sacred is that which unites. It regains, thorough it very
   sense, the etymological origin of the word 'religion' (religare--to
   bind), however it is not, through itself, the attribute of a
   religion or another (37): 'The sacred does not presupposes the
   faith in God, in gods or in spirits. It is ... the experience of a
   reality and the spring of the consciousness of being in this
   world--writes Mircea Eliade. The sacred, being before anything an
   experience, translates itself through a feeling--the 'religious
   feeling'--of that which binds beings and things and which,
   consequently, causes in the depths of the human being the absolute
   respect of the alterities united by the common life on the one and
   the same Earth. (38)

Once having appeared this Hidden Third transmits new synthesized energy back into A and non-A, "re-semantizing (39)" them. What we are dealing in here is a sort of a network-like determinism: A and non-A project themselves on another level of reality--in T; this T, once it has appeared, it makes the synthesis of the energies of A and of non-A and then projects backward emanations of synthesized energy which will make possible the cohabitation of A with non-A, as it puts them in a dialogical situation. Proceeding in this manner, we provide mobile bridges and fluctuant borderlines (not inexistent, but merely fluctuant, permissive and flexible) between levels of reality and also between entities from the same level.

This Hidden Third is nothing but the mysterious element which infuses and which assures the internal dynamic of the entire Heideggerien philosophy: "quelque chose qui, d'abord et le plus souvent, ne se montre pas, est en retrsit, mais qui est, en meme temps, quelque chose qui fait essentiellement corps avec ce qui se montre d'abord et le plus souvent de telle sorte qu'il en constitue le sens et le fond." (40)

God is objectivised within the word, the word and God become as one, such as the will and the body are one in Schopenhauer's philosophy. But this objectivation does not equate with a direct transposing but with a 'filtered one' through an interface because, as it is written in the Apocalypse, a direct contact with divinity would be deadly (41):

12: Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,

13: and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast;

14: his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire,

15: his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters;

16: in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last,

18: and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." (42)

John is privileged and protected by God's own divine grace, as he says that "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead" but still he feels that His very presence brings with it his own ultimate demise. John's words can be interpreted literally, in the sense that he actually died before God's hand, and then he was revived through God's all powerful grace, or they can be grasped from a metaphorical angle suggesting that the man is not meant to attain the sublime as such (the infernal purity of an essence or another). The human being always needs an intermediary element to separate him from all forms and ontological levels and expressions of totalities (purities). Man needs the protective veil of the angels in order to enter in a relation with what was culturally acknowledged as "God" (maybe the most powerful and intense expression of the sublime).

In this sense Andrei Plesu shows us the crucial role played by angels in the facilitation of the contact between God and the man--in the hermeneutic sense that they interpret for man the words of God and for God the words of the man (they decode and translate one reality level into the signals and intensity fluctuations of another). Therefore, this protective shield is a medium of interpretation and description by excellence, a medium of hermeneutics and of phenomenology. Thus, the angel that stands in the face of God (Isaia 639) and interprets for us this face is called 'angelus interpres':
   But, beyond the name, there always appears in the speculation of
   angelology the theme of an immediately neighboring supreme
   Presence. This 'immediately neighboring' is the destiny of every
   angelic presence. The angel floats in God's 'atmosphere' (or, as
   Jacques Lacan said somewhere, 'il nage dans le significant
   supreme'). (43)

   But the angel is also in the 'immediate neighboring' of man (...).
   Before becoming an imitatio Christi, the life of the accomplished
   man begins by being a 'vita angelica', o imitatio angeli. Compared
   to the remote heaven of God, the angel's heaven appears to us as a
   heaven close at hand, as an encouragingly accessible height. The
   angelic world is humanity's 'ceiling', its proximate kind. The man
   has the angel's intuition every time--in his undertakings--he feels
   himself assisted, supported, 'inspired'. (44)

In this new light, Andrei Plesu makes a first daring interpretation of the biblical text, arguing that the closest entity to humans is neither God, nor other humans but the angel--the dynamic intermediary zone (the "living" presence of the medium) which assures the safety and the feasibility (both in the sense of a necessary equilibrium of "impacts") for all types of contacts. In this new light, we will understand "the other" (or "your fellow") from a religious imagery as something else than what the topoi of otherness instantly urge us to interpret (God, another human being, the neighbor and so on and so forth): a third element which acts as a protective and selective membrane assuring all our contacts with the entities of our reality levels and their afferent dynamics (it acts like the skin--the biggest organ of the human body which interprets the medium for us and as it translates its fluctuations into signals recognized by our body and mind). This is in true fact the element that is always the closest to us and in religion it bears the name of "angel" and in contemporary philosophy that of Hidden Third
   The angels relativize man's solitude in the same way as they
   relativize God's solitude. They are by definition, the ones that
   accompany, the one's who are close to us. This being the state of
   affairs the spirit of the Biblical text--if not its letter
   --allows us to believe that the famous 'Love thy neighbor' can
   signify more than 'love the man who is at your side'. The angel s
   itself our 'neighbor': not the neighbor who is at our side, but the
   neighbor from the above. 'Love thy neighbor' is (...) an advice to
   love one's angel, to deepen the mystery of its proximity until it
   merges with God's proximity". (45)

5. Conclusions regarding the power of transgression, translation and transition

The aim of this paper was to re-assert the generative power of interpretation (hermeneutics) and the constitutive dynamics of intermediary zones (which function as a catalyst-membrane, as a secretly Hidden Third which enables processes to enter complex webs of harmonization and synchronization). Up to now, angels were perceived as a cliche, that is as knowledge in hand--and we tried to extract them out of this captivity and to transform them into knowledge at hand (that is, not being captive of a hand [i.e. by hand we will understand a metaphor for a strict formula/super-imposed pattern]). We tried to re-invest angels with topical relevance--namely the relevance of the power of transgression, translation and transition as utmost potential of human existence. Advocating the need to mobilize concepts and to turn them fluid and flexible in an operational sense, in his Etre(s) de passage, Virgil Ciomos states that man himself is a being which expesses its potential and its power of expression first and foremost through its capacity to pass from one level to another; to transform something into something else; to transcend all static, homogenizing and ultimately deadly-paralyzing pressures:
   Etre de passage releve de quelque chose d'encore plus etrange que
   le passage lui meme et ses resultants. II ne s'agit pas du simple
   fait que tout doit changer. II faudra maintenant changer le concept
   meme de l'etre, comme celui du changement. Ainsi, l'etre ne sera
   plus l'effet d'un passage, fut-il celui de la naissance ou celui de
   la mort: il se donnera dans le changement meme ou, plus encore, en
   tant que changement. (46)

Today, the role of intermediary spaces with their interpretational valences has to be exploited more than ever because "the world today is a world which has not yet found its optimum placement in the interval between extremes", (47) and also because "it's not just about changing our image of the world, but rather about the recognition of a potential of life and of transformation regarding our world, our universe and, ultimately, our own place in the universe." (48)

The study of the intermediary zones wants to put in light the mobile architecture of the bridges between disciplines and between the levels of reality. Starting from the ideas that the knowledge is multiplied in every second, that the bridges moves and shift their shapes constantly, that new connections appear and disappear with the speed of light, the transdisciplinarity assumes the task of interrogating these bridges through the point of view of the subject but with the proper respect conferred on to the object. Thus it aims at the colonization of these spaces of potentiality and perspective with circulable attitudinal routes.

The philosophy has delayed or avoided the take over of these experiences of the intermediary zones, finding it more comfortable and surer to persevere in the legacy of its epoch, and this happens, as Basarab Nicolescu observed, not at all coincidentally:
   There manifests an instinctive fear, arriving from the depths of
   our being, in the face of the acceptance of the principle of the
   included third--there is a third element T which in the same time
   both A and non-A, as its acceptance would appear to question our
   own identity, our own existence. (49)

Thus, we can say that transdisciplinarity managed to give a viable response to the rather isolated and intolerant cultures of specialists (with their afferent claims of absolute expertise) by opening up a new special space of movement and of dialogue which traverses all levels of reality and, by traversing them, it gives them new meaning through the fact that it places them in a situation restructuration at the level of properties (Maturana).

For sheer reasons of transparency of the general idea of this study, we shall associate this special zone with what has been culturally acknowledged as "niche"--namely, an active, independent and relevant through this very independence space, a zone of expressiveness, signification and creation, as opposed to the sterile locus (50) of the cultures of specialists which devolved into ignorance, lack of motivation or enthusiasm, alienation, lack of inspiration and so on and so forth. In the zone represented by the Hidden Third (a zone which escapes all levels of Reality and unites them by this very impossibility to be assimilated) we have assimilated the angel because it is a zone whose potential cannot be exhausted in a system-structure, nor can it be closed between fixed rules, lines of evolution or dogmas, on the contrary, it in-forms everything by means of and at the level of intersections--which intersections are in fact 'intersections'. In the case of geniuses, the moment of apparition of this Hidden Third corresponds in our view to the 'A-HA' moment (the divine moment of the inspiration--the moment of the apparition of the angel which translates the divine grace). The intermediate zone which the Hidden Third constantly models is a zone of con-substantiality--thanks to 'its mobile architecture' (the term belongs to Anaxagoras).The intermediate zone (the zone of the angel) is a zone that opens new horizons for those who have none, it is a zone meant to open the perspective while providing a correct and efficient articulation of the entities that it mediates. In our opinion the angel reveals itself firstly and foremost as a living space of articulation, as a "living" quality of the medium: we are not talking about an organic being but about a certain quality of the medium which becomes alive when reaching an acute and sensitive-enough-to-nuances individual or collective consciousness.

Thus, with the help of imagination, the absolute ceases to remain a static, canonical absolute--and it vascularises and diversifies itself in a creative and constitutive manner. Imagination and angels provide differential access to forms of self-actualization and empowerment. Thus the angel is the transcendental analogue of our transcendent soul. As a symbol of the as the faculty which mediate sour access towards the heavenly hierarchies and all imaginary (and imaginable) potentialities--the imagination--the angel becomes a "magical" intermediate between thought and being. Through understanding and creativity the risk is transformed in opportunity.


[1.] Alden, Ann (2006), Religion in Dialogue with Late Modern Society (A Constructive Contribution to a Christian Spirituality Informed by Buddhist-Christian Encounters), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH, Europsicher Verlager Wissenschaften.

[2.] Braga, Corin (2007), "'Imagination', 'imaginaire', 'imaginai' Three concepts for defining creative fantasy" in JSRI, No.16~Spring, pp.59-68.

[3.] Ciomos, Virgil (2006), Constiina si Schimbare in Critica Ratiunii Pure, o perspectiva arhitectonica asupra kantianismului (Consciousness and Change in the Critique of Pure Reason, an architectonic perspective on Kantianism), Bucharest, Humanitas Publishing House.

[4.] Ciomos, Virgil (2008), Etre(s) de passage, in Avant Propos, Bucharest, Zeta Books Publishing House.

[5.] Corbin, Henry (1958), L'imagination creatrice dans le soufisme d'Ibn Arabi, Paris, 1958, Flammarion.

[6.] Giddens, Anthony (1992), Modernity and Self-Identity (Self and Society in the late Modern Age Reprinted by Polity Press.

[7.] Heidegger, Martin (1986), Etre et temps, trad. F. Venzin, Paris: Gallimard.

[8.] Liiceanu, Gabriel (1997), Despre Limit? (On Limit), second edition, Bucharest: Humanitas Publishing House.

[9.] Marcuse, Herbert (1980), One Dimensional Man, Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

[10.] Maturana, Humberto (1992), "The Biological Foundations of Self Consciousness and the Physical Domain of Existence", in Karin Obermaier, Volker Redder (eds.) Beobachter (Konvergenz der Erkenntnistheorien?), Munchen: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Bandredaktion.

[11.] Nicolescu, Basarab (2007), Transdisciplinaritatea--Manifest (Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity), Iasi: Junimea Publishing House.

[12.] Nicolescu, Basarab (2007), Noi, particula si lumea (We, the particle and the world), Iasi: Junimea Publishing House.

[13.] Nicolescu, Basarab (2009), Ce este Realitatea? Reflecstii in jurul operei lui Stephane Lupasco (What is Reality? Reflections uponStephane Lupasco's work), Iasi: Junimea Publishing House.

[14.] Plesu, Andrei (1994), Limba P?s?rilor (The language of the Birds), Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas.

[15.] Popper, K. R. (1957), The Open Society and Its Enemies, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

[16.] Siertsema, B. (1998), "Verbeelding in die liturgie" in Oskamp P en Schuman, N, De weg van de liturgie. Meinema: Zoetermeer, p.379, quoted in Vos, Casparus, (2005),"Liturgical Language as Metaphorical Language" in Graham, Elaine and Rowlands, Anna (Ed.) Pathways to the Public Square; International Practical Theology, vol. 1, Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism, Manchester, Munster: LIT Verlag, p. 310.

[17.] Tieleman, Jongsma P.E. (1998), "Godsdienst als speelruimte voor verbeelding". GthT, 98[2], 1998, p.61, quoted in Vos, Casparus, (2005), "Liturgical Language as Metaphorical Language" in Graham, Elaine and Rowlands, Anna (eds.) Pathways to the Public Square; International Practical Theology, vol. 1, Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism, Manchester, Munster: LIT Verlag, p. 310.

[18.] Trollope, Anthony (1978), An Autobiography, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

[19.] Viau, Marcel (2005), Doing Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism, in Graham, Elaine and Rowlands, Anna (Ed.) Pathways to the Public Square; International Practical Theology, vol. 1, Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism, Manchester, Munster: LIT Verlag, pp. 11-31.

[20.] Vos, Casparus (2005), "Liturgical Language as Metaphorical Language" in Graham, Elaine and Rowlands, Anna (Ed.) Pathways to the Public Square; International Practical Theology, vol. 1, Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism, Manchester, Munster: LIT Verlag, p.303-313.

[21.] Winnicott, DW (1964). "This feminism". In: Winnicott C, Editor, Home is where we start from: Essays by a psychoanalyst, 183-94. New York, NY: Norton, 1986.

[22.] Winnicott, D.W. (1971), Playing and Reality, London: Tavistock Publications.

[23.] Winnicott, D.W. (1958), Collected Papers. Through Paediatrics to Psycho-Analysis., London: Tavistock Publications.

[24.] Saint John's apocalypse, Chapter 1, verses, 12-18, [], on the 7th of November 2010.

(1) Anthony Giddens, Modernity and Self-Identity (Self and Society in the late Modern Age), First published in 1991 by Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishers; Reprinted in 1992 by Polity Press, p. 184.

(2) This key statement from Anthony Giddens, being also the very core-idea of our paper that of demonstrating the need for a trusty and solid spiritual landmark in an out-of-control and chaotically-kinetic world: a warmly-humane return to the self in order to withstand an abstract chaos (cold, unstable and dangerous like the big dark universe itself).

(3) Anthony Giddens, op. cit, pp. 195-196.

(4) Ibidem, p. 38.

(5) We understand by "fragmentation" the modern culture of specialists who claim absolute expertise over their fields of activity--most probably a reminiscence of the old religious intolerant dogmatism synthesized by Anthony Giddens in the formula "providential interpretation."

(6) Anthony Giddens, op.cit, pp. 130-131.

(7) Ann Alden, Religion in Dialogue with Late Modern Society (A Constructive Contribution to a Christian Spirituality Informed by Buddhist-Christian Encounters), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH, Europsicher Verlager Wissenschaften, 2006, p. 57.

(8) Andrei Plesu, Limba Pasarilor (The language of the Birds), Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas, 1994, pp. 255-257, our translation and our italics.

(9) According to Democritus the empty space is just as important as the substantialized one as it allows the possibility of movement: "But Democritus' starting point resides in the fact that he believes in the reality of movement, as thought is movement. It is his point of attack: the movement exists, as I think and thinking has reality. But if there is movement, then there must be a void as well, which means that the non-being is as real as the being. Should the space be entirely filled, there could be no movement in it." Friedrich Nietzsche, Nasterea Filosofici (The Birth of Philosophy), Cluj: Editura Dacia, 1992, p. 116, our translation.

(10) Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1978, p. 131.

(11) Andrei Plesu, op. cit, pp. 258-259, our translation and our italics.

(12) Basarab Nicolescu, Ce este Realitatea? Reflectii in jurul operei lui Stephane Lupasco (What is Reality? Reflections upon Stephane Lupasco's work), Iasi: Editura Junimea, 2009, pp. 20-21, author's translation.

(13) Andrei Plesu, op.cit, pp. 261-262.

(14) Humberto Maturana, "The Biological Foundations of Self Consciousness and the Physical Domain of Existence", in Karin Obermaier, Volker Redder, Beobachter (Konvergenz der Erkenntnistheorien?), Miinchen: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992, pp. 63-65.

(15) According to Basarab Nicolescu, The power of this "T state" to bring contradictions together in a functional formula first originated in the visionary philosophy of Stefan Lupascu (fr. Stephane Lupasco): "This is precisaely Lupascu's historical merit: he knew to admit that the infinite multiplicity of the real can be restructured, deducted, starting from only three logical terms, concretizing thus the hope previously formulated by Peirce. The rigorous development of his axiomatic

formalism determined Lupasco to postulate the existence of a third type of antagonistic dynamics that coexists with that of the heterogeneity, which governs the living matter, and with that of the homogeneity, which governs the macroscopic physical matter. This new dynamic mechanism assumes the existence of a state of rigorous, precise balance between the poles of a contradiction, in a strictly equal quasi-actualization and quasi-potentialization. This state, called by Lupasco the T state ("T" being the initial for the 'included third'--or the 'included middle'), characterizes the world of microphysics, the world of particles. The new dynamics acts as a conciliatory force between heterogeneity and homogeneity. The binary structure homogeneous-heterogeneous, which seemed to be that of the energetic antagonism, is thus replaced by a ternary structure." Basarab Nicolescu, Noi, particula si lumea (We, the particle and the world), Iasi: Editura Junimea, 2007, p. 190, our translation.

(16) Basarab Nicolescu, Ce este Realitatea? Reflecstii ..., pp. 68-69, author's translation.

(17) Ibidem, p. 17.

(18) Henry Corbin, L'imagination creatrice dans le soufisme d'lbn Arabi, Paris: Flammarion, 1958.

(19) Our italics.

(20) Corin Braga" 'Imagination', 'imaginaire', 'imaginai'. Three concepts for defining creative fantasy" in /SRI, No. 16, Spring 2007, pp. 64-65.

(21) Corin Braga claims that only in language such trans-real spaces acquire a vivid and authentic reality and influence (in the sense that language allows them to become constitutive) and, as such, he sees them first and formost as linguistic realities capable (in consubstantiality with our active consciousness) to actualize and objectify intentions: "When related to 'l'imaginaire', religion appears as a function of the human brain. It is no more a mere non-being, a 'neant', although neither does it receive an ontological status. Imaginary phantasms are real as mental or psychic phenomena, but not as external beings. Through the concept of 'imaginaire', religion is to be explained as a constellation of mental patterns (or archetypes) generating a series of religious experiences and images. Jung would say that, as a psychiatrist, he is not qualified to say anything about the reality of God. What he can professionally say is that his patients do show and document the existence of an 'imago Dei', an image of God present in the human psyche. And although Jungian psychology is somewhat out of fashion nowadays, the brand new discipline of neurology seems to demonstrate, with the aid of sophisticated brain-scanners, that certain areas of the brain are specific only to religious experiences.

Finally, when related to 'l'imaginal', religion would claim its full ontological reality. 'Mundus imaginalis', the the transcendent world shown in mystical revelations, is no longer seen as an illusion, as a non-being, or as a mental phenomenon, but as a world out of our reach. Still, empirical evidence apparently cannot be brought in support of the theory of the actual existence of the supernatural. This is why the acceptance or the rejection of the 'mundus imaginalis' remains mainly an act of faith. 'L'imaginal' does not bring a theoretical testimony or proof for the subsistence of the sacred. Nonetheless, it linguistically evaluates it as ontologically real." Corin Braga, art.cit., pp. 67-67.

(22) Andrei Plesu, op.ut., pp. 265-266-267.

(23) Here we make a direct reference to Gabriel Liiceanu's notions of "gravitasional liberty" as "plasticity of the limit"--a plasticity philosophically acknowledged as "bringing into project". The limit (the boundary) becomes therefore the one that gives identity to an amorphism, the one that transforms the substance of freedom into the very essence of freedom. Man's capacity to consciously construct his reality relies on assuming the ontological implications of the limit: "As flying is impossible outside gravity, freedom makes sense only when it is conditioned by limits. Real freedom is gravitational freedom, and it should be distinguished from the idealized and 'pure' freedom. In an area of non-gravitational freedom anything can happen. But precisely because anything can happen in such a space, nothing does happen. [...] The space of non-gravitational freedom, is the space of pre-being ([...] The limit is the instrument of oure freedom that stars doing [a.n. things])." Gabriel Liiceanu, Despre Limit? (On Limit), second edition, Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas, 1997, pp. 5-6 and p. 11, our translation.

(24) Virgil Ciomos, Constiina si Schimbare in Critica Ratiunii Pure, o perspectiva arhitectonica asupra kantianismului (Consciousness and Change in the Critique of Pure Reason, an architectonic perspective on Kantianism), Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas, 2006, p. 80, our translation.

(25) D.W. Winnicott, "This Feminism" in C. Winnicott (ed.), Home Is Where We Start From. Essays by a Psychoanalyst, New York: Norton, 1986, p. 189.

(26) D.W. Winnicott, Playing and Reality, London: Tavistock Publications, 1971, p. 26.

(27) Ibidem, p.35.

(28) Let us recall the touching and almost mcbethian monologue from Virginia Woolfs Between the Acts: "This is death, death, death, she noted in the margin of her mind; when illusion fails."--Virginia Woolf--Between the Acts (1941),--a Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook-taken from [], consulted on the 6th of December 2010.

(29) Jongsma-Tieleman, P.E., Godsdienst als speelruimte voor verbeelding. GthT, 98[2], 1998, p.61, quoted in Casparus Vos, "Liturgical Language as Metaphorical Language" in Elaine Graham, Anna Rowlands (eds.), Pathways to the Public Square; International Practical Theology (vol.1)--Practical Theology in an Age of Pluralism, International Academy of Practical Theology, Manchester, 2003, Munster: LIT VERLAG, 2005, p. 310.

(30) Casparus Vos, "Liturgical Language as Metaphorical Language" in Elaine Graham, Anna Rowlands (eds.), op.cit., pp. 310-311.

(31) Andrei Plesu introduces here the theme of the angel as channel of communication between man and God, as catalyst of man's divination and of God's humanizing in the sense that, in its light both man and God can see themselves better as they 'inter-see' one another. Angels actively constitute this inter-face (this protective-screen) between the face of God (otherwise impossible to look at) and man's visage.

(32) Andrei Plesu, op.cit., p. 252.

(33) *NR1 = RL 1; *NR2= RL2; *RL= Reality Level

(34) Or "included middle" as we called it in previous quotes.

(35) In the sense of "semblance".

(36) Basarab Nicolescu, Noi, particula si lumea, p.189, our translation.

(37) Therefore neither of an illusory angelology.

(38) Basarab Nicolescu, Transdisciplinaritatea--Manifest (Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity), Iasi: Editura Junimea, Iasi, 2007, p. 147, our translation.

(39) Term coined by the authors and refers to the process of investing objects and/or entities with new meanings.

(40) Martin Heidegger, Etre et temps, Paris: Gallimard, 1986, p. 62. For reasons related to a better visibility, expressiveness and rhythm of the general idea we chosed the French translation of this famous German text. English translation made by the authors: "Something that, first of all and most often, does not reveal itself, that is in retreat, but which is, in the same time, something which enters in a unity, in an essential way, with that which reveals itself first of all and most often in such a way that it constitutes its meaning and fund."

(41) In the Apocalypse of Saint John there is recounted the Saint's own experience when placed in the face of God. The imagistic of the description is astounding, revealing once more the fact that the man cannot withstand the full image of God without being overwhelmed.

(42), Saint John's apocalypse, Chapter 1, verses, 12-18.

(43) Andrei Plesu, op. cit, pp. 251-252, our translation.

(44) Ibidem, p. 252, our translation.

(45) Ibidem.

(46) Virgil Ciomos, Etre(s) de passage, in Avant Propos, Zeta Books Publishing House, Bucuresti, 2008. English translation made by the authors: "Being of passage depends of something even more strange than the passage itself and that which results from it. This it is not about the simple fact that everything has to change. One should now change the very concept of being, as it shouldbe the case with that of change. In this way, the being would no longer be the effect of a passage, be it that of birth or of death: it would reveal itself in the change itself, or even more, as a change."

(47) Andrei Plesu, op.cit, p. 268, our translation.

(48) Basarab Nicolescu, Noi, particula si lumea (We, the particle and the world), Iasi: Editura Junimea, 2007, p. 182, our translation.

(49) Ibidem, p. 187, our translation.

(50) Here we use the word "locus" with the connotation that it has in mathematics: the set or configuration of all points whose coordinates satisfy a single equation.

Ormeny Francisc-Norbert, Theodora-Eva Stancel *

* Ormeny Francisc-Norbert received a PhD title in philosophy at Babes-Bolyai University. Contact:

Stancel Theodora-Eva is PhD candidate at Babes-Bolyai University. Contact:

The authors would like to express their gratitude for the financial support of their PhD research to the following two programmes:

Investing in people! Ph.D. scholarship, Project co-financed by the SECTORAL OPERATIONAL PROGRAM FOR HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT 2007-2013

Priority Axis 1. "Education and training in support for growth and development of a knowledge based society"; Key area of intervention 1.5: Doctoral and post-doctoral programs in support of research.

Contract nr.: POSDRU/88/1.5/S/60185--"Innovative doctoral studies in a Knowledge Based Society", Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Investing in people! Ph.D. scholarship, Project co-financed by the SECTORAL OPERATIONAL PROGRAM FOR HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT 2007-2013

Priority Axis 1. "Education and training in support for growth and development of a knowledge based society"; Key area of intervention 1.5: Doctoral and post-doctoral programs in support of research.

Contract nr.: POSDRU 6/1.5/S/4--Doctoral studies, a major factor in the development of socio-economic and humanistic studies", Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
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Author:Francisc-Norbert, Ormeny; Stancel, Theodora-Eva
Publication:Studia Europaea
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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