Why Bother about Symbols?

June 29, 2019 Open Religion, Personal Growth No Comments

Symbols bring another dimension to life. I would even say: they bring life to life. Without symbols, one way or another, we do not live a full life.

[see also: “A Symbol Is Always YOU”]

‘Not fully living’: as if that would be possible.

Of course, truth is: we need symbols. Without them, we are dead already before dying. As a matter of fact, people want to ‘stay alive’, bodily as well as psychologically, meaningfully.

Many dire consequences

This also explains why people can go to such lengths in order to preserve the symbolic side. People are willing to believe in any kind of stupidity, even send their own sons and daughters to war over it.

People are able to blow themselves up, to start killing each other on the streets, to insult each other into a depression on social media, to send fellow human refugees back to almost certain death, to spend billions on some crazy wall just to keep ‘it’ outside, etc. etc. Even – don’t say “we didn’t know” after the facts – to eventually destroy the planet. What may prevent it?

People do all this in order to preserve a meager symbolic life coupled with a fear of losing even that. Is it just a bit sad or is it a devastating pity?

The joy of symbols

The previous focused on the consequences of a present-day lack of worthy symbols. One could almost regret that we need them so much. Looking at the bright side, symbols are life-bringers. Without them, we may even ask what’s the purpose of it all.

For instance, a depressive person can be seen as being lost in a world without symbols. It’s actually the same world but without any deeper meaning. To such a person, there is no hope, no shining light (everything appears black and sad), no inner energy, no reason to live.

OK: the bright side…

What if symbols are like doors towards anything worthwhile, anything truly meaningful… like for instance ‘love’?

One needs at least one symbol in order to feel love, whether it is of a universal kind or one related to something on this tiny outpost called ‘earth’.

‘Symbol’ is actually any connection with ’deeper self’. It is anything that lets us transcend mere conceptuality. It is what brings us out of Plato’s cave, enabling ‘enlightenment’.

Symbolism is what brings us beauty.

Without it, there would be only objects. Without a person’s appreciating beauty, there is none [see: “Whence Beauty?”].

Appreciating beauty is a symbolic action. One doesn’t need any temple or religion. One needs only oneself-as-total-person. The beautiful thing (or person) is beautiful because it touches upon inner – deeper – patterns of the one who enjoys the beauty.

This includes a woman’s beauty as appreciated by a man. And vice versa. [see: “A Lady’s Beauty is a Gentleman’s Delight”]

Any true symbol is life itself

This is literally the case. Any true symbol is eventually a symbol of you as a whole.

While not being necessary, special circumstances may make this even more powerful. Mainly ones that invite open attention.

Any true symbol invites open attention.

Through open attention, you see yourself. Through yourself, you see the world.


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