Real Images Flow: Mullā Sadrā Meets Film-Philosophy

Film-Philosophy 20 (1):24-46 (2016)

The eastern Islamic concept of the imaginal realm, which explains how supra-sensory realities present themselves to imaginative perception, can enrich the imagination of film-philosophy. The imaginal realm, in Arabic ‘alam al-mithal, world of images, or ‘alam al-khayal, imaginative world, is part of a triadic ontology of sensible, imaginal, and intelligible realms. Diverging from roots shared with Western thought in the concept of the imaginative faculty, the Islamic imaginal realm is supra-individual and more real than matter. The imaginal realm is a radically pro-image concept, affirming the importance of poetry, art, and images in motion. As developed by the Persian philosopher Sadr al-Dîn Muhammad al-Shîrâzî, known as Mullâ Sadrâ, the imaginal realm flows and intensifies, in a process philosophy we may fruitfully compare with Spinoza, Leibniz, and Whitehead. I sketch the genealogy of the imaginal realm and compare it to contemporary Western film-philosophy. I suggest how this transcendental concept can be made immanent. Finally, I draw from contemporary Muslim thinkers, such as Mohammed Arkoun, who ground a visionary collective politics in the imaginal realm. My central example, the documentary The Lebanese Rocket Society by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joriege, exemplifies film's imaginal powers.
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DOI 10.3366/film.2016.0003
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Arabic Into Latin: The Reception of Arabic Philosophy Into Western Europe.Charles Burnett - 2005 - In Peter Adamson & Richard C. Taylor (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 370--404.
Avicenna.L. Goodman - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (1):136-137.

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