Gary Lachman is a prolific author, his books carry many esoteric subjects and include biographies of people such as Rudolf Steiner, Carl Jung and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, to name but a few. I attended a talk he was giving in early December at the Theosophical Headquarters in London where he was discussing one of his recent books, ‘Lost Knowledge of the Imagination’.
This book looks at the history of ideas and knowledge that have permeated through mankind’s past and up to the present day, explaining how different traditions in thought processes and philosophies have been part of the narration of mankind’s development in concepts and beliefs. Since man first walked this earth there have been people who ask such questions as ‘why are we here?’, ‘what is life about?’ and ‘what is it to exist?’
Looking at the traditions of peoples around the world that existed before science took over, Gary Lachman looks at the ‘other kind of knowledge’; the hermetic, esoteric traditions. In these traditions the questions continued; the who, why, how type questions but they were not just from a scientific viewpoint, they were also from a spiritual. Lachman asks why was this ancient knowledge lost? Perhaps it was not lost, but became hidden as a more academic and scientific reign of thought took over from this more transcendent way of thinking.
Gary asks “How big is wisdom?” Wisdom and knowledge are not finite and there are many different paths to understanding what it is that makes the world go around and our place upon it. Which leads to another question that he debates “What is good for us to know?” What do we need to learn as we travel our life’s path?
How has the wisdom that has developed over the last few centuries changed our way of thinking and living? Is it for the better or the worst? Lachman discuses how we have better living standards compared to those of the past but perhaps we have lost a connection to the cosmos as science and rationality become the way of today.
It makes me wonder should science and spirituality work together? In ancient times many cultures regarded science and religion to be branches from the same tree but over time they have been separated, science becoming a recognised academic way of learning, whereas spirituality does not fit comfortably into the rational way of thinking.
Gary Lachman has an immense understanding of the different conventions of philosophical study and he has been studying esoteric and hermetic works from a historic point of view for many years as well as looking at other subjects such as existentialism, consciousness and politics. He has a detailed knowledge of everybody, from Aristotle to Zoroaster, an understanding of philosophy, spirituality and politics and adding a great sense of humour his books and his talks are refreshing and erudite.
He also has an understanding of culture and having been part of the rock ‘n’ roll scene back in the 70’s (he is one of the founding members of the band Blondie), he also writes books and articles about this scene.
His latest book ‘Dark Star Rising; Magick and Power in the Age of Trump’’ looks at the culture of occultists, power seekers and mind magicians and their influence on those in power.
If you want a humorous but concise study of philosophy, spirituality and science, you cannot go wrong with this book ‘The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination.’ And if you want more of Gary Lachman please go to his website-