By J. E. Cirlot
At each level of civilization, humans have depended on symbolic expression, and advances in technological know-how and expertise have in simple terms elevated our dependence on symbols. a vital a part of the traditional arts of the Orient and Western medieval traditions, symbolism underwent a twentieth-century revival with the research of the subconscious. certainly, symbolic language is taken into account a technology, and this informative quantity deals an necessary device within the learn of symbology. Its alphabetical entries--drawn from a various variety of assets, together with all the significant international religions, astrology, alchemy, numerology, heraldry, and prehistoric art--clarify the basic and unvarying meanings of every image. no matter if used as a reference or browsed for excitement, this informative quantity deals a useful key to elucidating the symbolic worlds encountered in either the humanities and the background of rules. 32 b/w illustrations.
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Additional resources for A Dictionary of Symbols
Are you a sociologist? ’ The only all-embracing interpretation which would seem to fit the original meaning of myths and symbols is the one that takes this meaning right back to the metaphysical source, to the dialectic of creation. Louis Renou praises Zimmer’s ‘intuitive appreciation of the metaphysical approach to the myth’, which is to say, his fidelity to his subject, an approach embracing both the philosophical and the religious aspects (60). But argument about all the possible interpretations dates not from our times, nor from recent times, but from Antiquity.
These components, which account for the ‘mode of being’ of the object, may be complementary or disparate; in the case of the latter an ambivalent symbol is produced. Schneider mentions the flute as an example (50). The flute in form is phallic and masculine, whereas its sound is feminine. It is an instrument which stands in curious, inverse relation to the drum, with its deep masculine tones and its rounded, feminine shapes. One indispensable aspect of the relationship between abstract forms (geometric or biomorphic, intellectual or artistic) and objects is the mutual influence they have upon each other.
In all the examples of deformation we have given, one finds the same basic falsification: the creative drive of the symbol—its tendency to revert to its Origin—is restricted, and it is made to bear labels which are over-concrete, too materialized or inferior. Its metaphysical function is arrested, and consequently a single plane of reality comes to be mistaken for the sum of all possible levels of symbolic meaning. If this use of symbols is recognized as deformation, then—as we suggested earlier when commenting upon Caro Baroja—a general distrust of ready-made symbolic meanings and the attempt to use them to explain myth, would seem to be justified.
A Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot