Dreams are often parables that contain hidden treasure
if you’re willing to search for it. The condition of your heart
directly affects your spiritual insight and understanding.
Are you distracted or captivated by the gift God may
be giving you in your dreams? …It may reflect the condition of your heart.
Jesus only spoke in parables to the unbelieving because
He wanted them to have to apply their heart. He says in Matthew 13:13-15
This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14)
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ”
‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15)
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
I sort of smile, when reading about something were the author goes on with his dissertation ignorant about the many issues surrounding the topic he is talking about specifically one sided explanations, that ignore the deep power of symbols, and the use the ancients had for them way before we come to lost our way around them, this a profound loss for the understanding of an issue, even the explanation of the symbol itself!
According to the dictionary
something that represents or stands for something else, usually by convention or association, specifically a material object used to represent something abstract
an object, person, idea, etc, used in a literary work, film, etc, to stand for or suggest something else with which it is associated either explicitly or in some more subtle way
a letter, figure, or sign used in mathematics,science, music, etc to represent a quantity, phenomenon, operation, function, etc
But of course there is more, a lot more than that!
As for example:
Word Origin and History for symbol Expand
early 15c., “creed, summary, religious belief,” from Late Latin symbolum “creed, token, mark,” from Greek symbolon “token, watchword” (applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles’ Creed, on the notion of the “mark” that distinguishes Christians from pagans), literally “that which is thrown or cast together,” from syn- “together” (see syn- ) + bole “a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt,beam,” from bol-, nominative stem of ballein “to throw” (see ballistics).
The sense evolution in Greek is from “throwing things together” to “contrasting” to “comparing” to “token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine.” Hence, “outward sign” of something. The meaning “something which stands for something else”first recorded 1590 (in “Faerie Queene”).
In considering the effect of a symbol on the psyche, in his seminal essay The Symbol without Meaning Joseph Campbell proposes the following definition: A symbol is an energy evoking, and directing, agent.
Later, expanding on what he means by this definition Campbell says:
“a symbol, like everything else, shows a double aspect. We must distinguish, therefore between the ‘sense’ and the ‘meaning’ of the symbol. It seems to me perfectly clear that all the great and little symbolical systems of the past functioned simultaneously on three levels: the corporeal of waking consciousness, the spiritual of dream, and the ineffable of the absolutely unknowable. The term ‘meaning’ can refer only to the first two but these, today, are in the charge of science – which is the province as we have said, not of symbols but of signs. The ineffable, the absolutely unknowable, can be only sensed. It is the province of art which is not ‘expression’ merely, or even primarily, but a quest for, and formulation of, experience evoking, energy-waking images: yielding what Sir Herbert Read has aptly termed a ‘sensuous apprehension of being’.
Heinrich Zimmer gives a concise overview of the nature, and perennial relevance, of symbols.
“Concepts and words are symbols, just as visions, rituals, and images are; so too are the manners and customs of daily life. Through all of these a transcendent reality is mirrored. They are so many metaphors reflecting and implying something which, though thus variously expressed, is ineffable, though thus rendered multiform, remains inscrutable. Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth, hence it is delusory to borrow them. Each civilization, every age, must bring forth its own.”
In the book Signs and Symbols, it is stated that A symbol … is a visual image or sign representing an idea — a deeper indicator of a universal truth.
Symbols are a means of complex communication that often can have multiple levels of meaning. This separates symbols from signs, as signs have only one meaning.
Human cultures use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their specific culture. Thus, symbols carry meanings that depend upon one’s cultural background; in other words, the meaning of a symbol is not inherent in the symbol itself but is culturally learned.
Symbols are the basis of all human understanding and serve as vehicles of conception for all human knowledge. Symbols facilitate understanding of the world in which we live, thus serving as the grounds upon which we make judgments. In this way, people use symbols not only to make sense of the world around them, but also to identify and cooperate in society through constitutive rhetoric.
Carl Gustav Jung and the Collective Unconscious
Carl Gustav Jung ; 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, literature, and religious studies. He was a prolific writer, though many of his works were not published until after his death.
Collective unconscious, a term coined by Carl Jung, refers to structures of the unconscious mind which are shared among beings of the same species. According to Jung, the human collective unconscious is populated by instincts and by archetypes: universal symbols such as the Great Mother, the Wise Old Man, the Shadow, the Tower, Water, the Tree of Life, and many more.
Jung considered the collective unconscious to underpin and surround the unconscious mind, distinguishing it from the personal unconscious of Freudian psychoanalysis. He argued that the collective unconscious had profound influence on the lives of individuals, who lived out its symbols and clothed them in meaning through their experiences.
In Jung’s 1916 essay, “The Structure of the Unconscious”. This essay distinguishes between the “personal”, Freudian unconscious, filled with sexual fantasies and repressed images, and the “collective” unconscious encompassing the soul of humanity at large.
In “The Significance of Constitution and Heredity in Psychology” (November 1929), Jung wrote:
And the essential thing, psychologically, is that in dreams, fantasies, and other exceptional states of mind the most far-fetched mythological motifs and symbols can appear autochthonously at any time, often, apparently, as the result of particular influences, traditions, and excitations working on the individual, but more often without any sign of them. These “primordial images” or “archetypes,” as I have called them, belong to the basic stock of the unconscious psyche and cannot be explained as personal acquisitions. Together they make up that psychic stratum which has been called the collective unconscious.
The existence of the collective unconscious means that individual consciousness is anything but atabula rasa and is not immune to predetermining influences. On the contrary, it is in the highest degree influenced by inherited presuppositions, quite apart from the unavoidable influences exerted upon it by the environment. The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences, and hence it exerts an influence that compromises the freedom of consciousness in the highest degree, since it is continually striving to lead all conscious processes back into the old paths.
On October 19, 1936, Jung delivered a lecture “The Concept of the Collective Unconscious” to the Abernethian Society at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He said:
My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.
Jung’s work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep innate potential. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung believed that this journey of transformation, which he called individuation, is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Freud’s objectivist worldview, Jung’s pantheism may have led him to believe that spiritual experience was essential to our well-being, as he specifically identifies individual human life with the universe as a whole. Jung’s ideas on religion gave a counterbalance to the Freudian skepticism of religion. Jung’s idea of religion as a practical road to individuation has been quite popular, and is still treated in modern textbooks on the psychology of religion, though his ideas have also been criticized.
It is only through comparative studies in mythology, folk-lore, religion, and language that we can determine these symbols in a scientific way. The evolutionary stages through which the human psyche has passed are more clearly discernible in the dream than in consciousness. The dream speaks in images and gives expression to instincts that are derived from the most primitive levels of nature. Consciousness all too easily departs from the law of nature, but it can be brought again into harmony with the latter by the assimilation of unconscious contents. By fostering this process, [one comes to] the rediscovery of the law of one’s own being
“We have no symbolic life, and we are all badly in need of the symbolic life. Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul – the daily need of the soul, mind you! And because people have no such thing, they can never step out of this mill – this awful, banal, grinding life in which they are “nothing but.” . . . Everything is banal; everything is “nothing but,” and that is the reason why people are neurotic. They are simply sick of the whole thing, sick of that banal life, and therefore they want sensation. They even want a war; they all want a war; they are all glad when there is a war; they say, “Thank heaven, now something is going to happen – something bigger than ourselves!”
These things go pretty deep, and no wonder people get neurotic. Life is too rational; there is no symbolic existence in which I am something else, in which I am fulfilling my role, my role as one of the actors in the divine drama of life.”
My Personal Views
I never liked the word Unconscious, which in my opinion represents more a physical state, like when someone pass out by a blow on the head, or by the effects of anesthesia, rather than representing the substrata of impressions of the individual, the term Subconscious fits more my idea of things, something that it’s present in the background, but not necessarily, an active and present awareness of it on our immediate consciousness, but nevertheless present, and can be recollected under close examination of memory, or in the substance of our dreams. I believe this slight, but fundamental differentiation on the meaning of the word, would make it more palatable, and acceptable, and would take the hocus pocus aspect of it, that rational, and scientific minds oppose.
There is such a thing as knowledge by inference that doesn’t come to the mind in an obvious and categorical way, at least in the beginning, but on reflection, and meditation subtleties come to mind, like the meaning of a dream by analogy, and relations of symbols, and constitute a revelation to our conscious mind. This may appear out of nowhere, or magical, to many, but it’s rather an Intuitive, but perfectly logical way of cognition, once this symbolic associations are known.
Albert Einstein, now a darling of truism in quotes of many subject matters, not my favorite person to quote, not fault of his own, but for the way he has been abused in this respect by the many, plus the fact he had it’s failures as we all do, but are not dwelled on, as much as his triumphs, Einstein’s dreams and it’s conclusions lead to the discovery of his famous theory of Relativity, now there is so many versions of different dreams he had, that I hesitate to describe one as the dream that give him the key, but nevertheless point out to the usefulness of the symbolic in order to clarify, and reveal the hidden. The following quote attributed to him reveals the value he conceded to the Symbolic.
The importance of the study of Symbols as a way to access our subconscious stratus of our minds, what the ancients use to name as Soul it’s as relevant today as it was in the past, this can’t be done without a personal effort in our part to seek clarification, to our hidden life and motivations, that propel us here, or there, ignoring the why?
Arnold J. Toynbee a historian philosopher argues:
First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force – against all right and reason – a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation – and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.
If you examine the general state of affairs of the World, where rules, and commands are handled down from a one percent corporate capitalistic outlook with few regards for the lower workers, the actual majority, and where the State itself is just the tool this minority uses as a machine of control for their own ends, and where a breakdown of values it’s just a constant increase, where the dispossessed, and disfranchised majority suffers the will of this entrenched minority who do not comprehend their actions will lead to a total breakdown of society as we know it, is not hard to understand that the new creed represents liberation from oppression, and a new form of social contract would emerge, where the rewards of the new system must satisfy not only the lower material needs of society, but it’s higher Artistic, and Spiritual needs as well, a recovery of Soul it’s specifically need it in order to bring psychic wellbeing to the individual, and therefore to society at large.
Satisfaction to the material needs of society will always be a primordial goal, but ignoring our Spiritual and hidden subjective side, will bring always a backlash of sorts, that would not take a no for an answer, and would demand it’s share, as in Mathew 22:21 “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
It’s is not hard to see, that with our way of living we are rapidly approaching a breaking point, when now even the World Ecology of which all living beings depend it’s at risk of collapse, meanwhile our Nations States, pay a lip service, but actually do nothing to alleviate the impending crisis.