Bridging Heterodox Views on Language and Symbols: Gilbert Durand’s Imaginaire and Mark Johnson’s Image Schemata
Vol. 41, No. 2, 217–230
DOI 10.2478/gth-2019-0020 ; ISSN 2519-5808
In recent decades, there has been a great deal of progress in the research concerning our brain and how it ‘images’ reality. The fact that ‘imaging’ may also be at the core of logic or language, traditionally considering purely abstract and conceptual tools, transforms images into a form of knowledge. In this sense, there are some important theories on the study of images and imagination that have not yet been linked to embodied cognition. This paper analyzes Gilbert Durand’s1 anticipations to Mark Johnson’s theories about imagination and the formation of meaningful structures because, to my mind, the theoretical ground of Durand’s model is of great importance in analyzing literature (and other arts) within a cognitive frame, to which Durand would have unconsciously contributed. For the purposes of this paper, I am using a comparative methodology that will contrast Durand’s anthropological thesis about symbolism and Johnson’s cognitive approach to language. The aim of this comparison is twofold: first, to show that the use of different terms to study the same phenomena does not alter commonly accepted positions in important theories regarding human representative tools and second, to bridge concepts from different research fields in the structural analysis of the roots of human language and symbolic representation. These aims are based on the rediscovery of Durand’s contributions of the physical and perceptual basis of meaning and symbolization processes.