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Figures of Speech in Symbolism

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Unlike ordinary words/phrases used to convey a message corresponding to their intended meaning, Figures of Speech (FOS), like Analogy and Metaphor and their Symbols, are different because they indicate two concepts are alike and imaged in some way. An Image within a Symbol and the Symbol itself possess Values of some type to someone and therefore serve as Bridges to connect all three. Thus, a "Bridge" stands between the message and the messenger on one side and its target on the other side. A Gestalt Symbol in ones memory is a "whole Idea"--i.e. patterned quantities of energy organized into shaped forces so as to complete the Image's 'big picture." By being a "skeleton" (an "uninflated body"), a Gestalt Symbol is a thing invested with such significance as to be carried beyond itself in meaning. It is able to reduce human thoughts and communications about complexities otherwise impossible to understand. The reduction is into a "short-hand" Image, conveyed by FOS, enabling interrelationships to be more easily seen, analyzed, manipulated, maneuvered, and synthesized--regardless of its plane of Cosmic Existence or on any portion of any plane--whether good or bad. Its Image's sensory experience can be one single visual image of a picture that can be smelled, tasted, touched, heard; or from a combination of these experiences. Its inherent power is determined by its form and by the force (external and/or internal) of the event which activates and energizes it. To illustrate, in seeing a snake one automatically thinks of the word "Snake"--a Symbol. The outer form of the snake has energized in ones memory the mind symbol for snake and triggered a multitude of emotionally tinged memories about snakes. The external snake did not have the word "Snake" printed on it; nor did it contain emotional tinged memories of past experiences with snakes.

FOS are most useful when things compared have similar underlying structures, even when the topics are highly dissimilar. For example, to say an atom is like a miniature solar system implies the solar system and the atom have similar relationships among their component parts--smaller bodies revolving around a larger one in fixed path patterns. Surface similarity (e.g. the sun is hot and large and contains burning gases is not implied. With respect to an Analogy, whereas Signs are often arbitrary in character, Symbolic Analogies frequently are based on likeness. The lion represents courage because lions are said to be brave. In Ancient Egypt, the Lotus was linked with the sun god and the mythical emergence of Light from the slime in which the Cosmos began. Analogies are pervasive, particularly in seeking to understand a new and confusing situation. Here, an Analogy of a "Like-Kind" nature that is a known familiar helps clarify the difficulties. Poor Analogies are ones in which only surface or superficial characteristics are similar. Example, Titan and Tennis, because they both start with the letter 'T,' is a very poor analogy. A use of Analogy is to say that X is analogous to Y, then what is true for X is also true for Y--called Reasoning by Analogy. The point: Analogies require considering the nature of the similarity in the relationship. The 16th century Rhetoric books make no distinction between Symbols and Allegory--both classified as Tropes, or figures.

As a modification of the African Law of Correspondence (so below, so above; so above, so below), Europeans' concept of the theory of Correspondence involved the idea that all parts of creation are related through Analogy, so that to every material manifestation there corresponds a reality of a higher order. This furnished a guide for the ascent of the Soul to wisdom. In this manner, "Figura"--similitude or Metaphor--served as a bridge connecting the visible with the invisible. In Allegory, a Personification of an abstraction is Wrath represented as an angry man bearing a club. A poetic image describing Ancient Africans' idea of Afterlife Souls in the Lake of Life is: the "silent ones" who exercise self-control so as to find the desert's hidden well to quench their thirst. By contrast, Souls in the Lake of Fire are hot-headed and rash, find only the fire they deserve and cannot quench their thirst. Creators of the Coffin texts of the Ancient African Bible ascribed this imbalance to the "heat" of the "Heart"--the emotions responsible for injustice. Thus, Poetic Symbolism became a means of revealing the hidden correspondence of the universe.

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