CSH: Fara was talking about 1423—the year perspective was discovered in the early Renaissance. And then how this particular illustration (below) shows you the invisible grid that supports the three-dimensionality and the depth of the object. That invisible grid is always running in the imagination. The imagination is pre-permeated with the x, y, and z orthogonal axes.
When the Italian Renaissance painters and architects (such as Filippo Brunelleschi) figured out how to recreate the skewing involved in our visual cognition of distance, they did so by making the underlying recession towards one or more vanishing points explicit. That is, they made the invisible lattice of space itself visible.
The retina is a two-dimensional domain. The human visual experience only gets two dimensions. Cognition of depth works by translating diagonals. Each set of parallel lines that are at an angle relative to the plane of the drawing recede towards their vanishing points. 3D is 2D plus an imaginary translation of diagonals.
This is the diagonal system that we exploit in 2D to fake 3D. This art is interesting because it shows the invisible framework that actually is us—that is, genetically a priori by being the non-optional structure of our imagination. This three-dimensional grid is a self-anatomy of the human imagination. We’re seeing the invisible latticework. It’s transparent—clear of content—but it is really rigid, and it looks like this:
There’s a rigid glass-like lattice in your imagination. By rigid I mean that its extension is stable; it doesn’t collapse back on itself. The positive extendedness of Kantian imaginary space is force-like, or rigid. Like a salt crystal. Or pyrite:
Plato says that concepts live in a heaven, and Kant says that this heaven is the imagination. And Kant’s rule of idealism is this:
Whatever the physical really is, we can never know. But we do know that everything that we know is made in the imagination. Everything physical that we know is actually a copy that we’ve made in the imagination. This copy might map onto something really out there, or it might not. But the thing that we know is our thing—the thing transparent to the knowing subject because its parts have been posited and then combined by the subject, so that no part of it is opaque. Of all knowns, the empty rigid space of your imagination is the most known.
Because if you know something, that means it is yours (possessive case).
Fara: What about universal forms? How do separate imaginations coincide with each other?
CSH: Universal forms are rules for making objects in the imagination. So cat is a rule that tells you how far your imaginary outline can deviate from a certain shape. If the head shape goes too much this way, it’s a lion; too much that way, a dog. A concept is a rule that puts boundaries on freedom of making in the imagination. That’s Kant’s definition of concept. Kant defines a concept as a procedural rule that puts boundaries on freedom of making in the imagination.
Example: Green. Green can deviate by hue, brightness, and saturation. If the hue deviates too much this way the particular becomes blue; too much that way, yellow. Being green hue-wise means falling inside a range of variation.
Fara: What’s Hegel trying to do? He’s trying to map the imagination onto physical reality and say they’re the same thing.
CSH: Hegel was saying that the crystal lattice of the imagination lives in the world as history.
A concept is a rule for making in the imagination. And there’s a logic of it’s development, and the logic is based on God’s self-love, which manifests as self-knowledge. So God’s self-love becomes externalized as human self-knowing.
Human self-knowing occurs inside of the Kantian lattice. Hegel takes the Kantian lattice and you run it through time, and shows how the lattice develops through history and becomes God’s self-love at the end of history. Object and subject finally fuse (again). The knower sees that it’s been knowing itself all along. The known that was supposed to be outside the subject actually is the subject.
Fara: So the imagination over time will eventually identify with the physical reality?
CSH: Human imagination over time is the history of the universe. And that end’s in God’s self-love.
Fara: Which is identity?
CSH: Yes, but identity has gone through a separation-recombination process first. And the purpose of the separation was the ecstasy of reunion. As the late-Victorian poet Aleister Crowley wrote, in the automatic-writing voice of Shakti,
Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat: O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of Thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous! None, breathed the light, faint & faery, of the stars, and two. For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all.