Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Symbolism and Traditions

We are immersed in platitudes. They are the cousins of traditions. We are creatures of habit. We walk in circles. In the east, they call it the Wheel of Awagawan. We no longer question the origin of statements, or of our customs i.e. traditions, but repeat them like well-trained apes. In fact, most zoologists will assure us that that’s what we are—reasonably well-trained apes. No one ever questions that we are the smartest humanoids (apes), but no one has ever taken the trouble to prove it.
While apes and members of other species cannot do thousands of things that we can do, they also can do thousands of thing we can’t.
I’ve already stated in a number of my blogs what I feel we are. We, you and I, may or may not agree. How we describe such opinions is a matter of the adopted symbols.
Where we, Homo sapiens, differ from the rest of the animal kingdom is in our apparent potential. If we forsake traditions, and dismiss the symbols we attached to what we think is represented by the word human, then, and only then, we can start the discussion. From the beginning.
We are either animals—smart or stupid, weak or strong, good, bad, or indifferent, or we are that which inhabits the animal for its purposes. The choice is ours. Or at least partially ours—most of us probably think that we, humans, are endowed with free will.
As a purported member of Homo sapiens, I can make a list a mile long of things what we cannot do; of our inherent limitations. Is that free will? What of the biblical statement “Ye are gods”. Trite? Outdated nonsense? What of traditions that limit our behaviour? How many of us, Jews, Christians (that’s well over two billion) believe such statements? And if we do, how many of us act as though we were.
And if we don’t or can’t… what of free will?
It seems we have two choices. We can either continue calling ourselves Christians or Jews, and ignore the teaching of the ancients (which we claim we follow), or we can revise our symbols and traditions. Our choice. But of one thing I am certain. When the psalmist proclaimed, “ye are gods”, he did not refer to Homo sapiens with his or hers overt, explicit, blatant limitations. He couldn’t have. 
If we tend to agree, then my Dictionary of Biblical Symbolism will help. It will help us to unravel the mysteries, which completely confused people for over two thousand years.
Prepare yourself for a shock. 

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