The word "Symbol" is an excellent one for students to develop Critical Thinking because every aspect of its innumerable parts has complexities and special origins designed to serve a particular purpose. A Visible Symbol is the source of Images which imitate the object the Symbol represents. But that Image necessarily involves both an abstract/abstraction and creativity. Perhaps Primitive Africans made an intimate connection between the object and an image in order to attempt to control the object by manipulating its image (or visible Symbol). Such practices have continued to this day, as in burning people in effigy. Symbols are divided into two major types--each with many subtypes. First Exoteric Symbols are exact, more precise and consciously representative of something--e.g. signs, figures, and abbreviations used to express terms and concepts in mathematics, chemistry, physics, weights and measures, astronomy, and medicine. In the sciences, Symbols tend to be precise, as when an unknown quantity is represented by X or when they are firmly established through custom as to appropriate identity. Thus, the idea of 'Unity' is represented by the number 1; 'Duality' by the number 2--both concepts originated by Ancient Africans who fashioned all of today's Mathematics' fundamentals. They considered odd numbers as masculine; even numbers as feminine--and because “One” is neither, they deemed the Number “One” to be a sacred symbol of God. Though some believe “One” to be an undivided unity, the idea of an undivided unity cannot be accepted as a characterization of God since no one has any way of knowing anything about God. Yet, for purposes of classification, they agreed to consider God as “ONENESS” since “One” cannot be reduced to anything smaller without resulting in fractions. In this context, “One” is Absolute—“One” is ALL—all Real things come out of "One"--and “One” is complete in itself, as is the Circle of Wholism. These symbols (e.g. 1, 2) serve the purpose of calculation, just as if they were the actual quantities involved, instead of Symbols representing quantities. By contrast, Language, a form of Symbolism, not only accepts ambiguity but employs it effectively. The use of words to suggest or to intimate, rather than to convey specific meaning, is an essential characteristic of Poetry.
Second, Esoteric Symbols, being more implicit (essentially contained although not expressed), are those lying hidden from ordinary observation, as if they were hibernating and awaiting arousal. They are produced by deep unconscious processes and were used to maintain secrecy among ancient priest-scientists (for fear Brutes would mis-appropriately liberate their very potent negative energy) and for social growth. Esoteric Symbols of Occult, Spiritual, and Philosophical Truths are subdivided into: (1) Geometrical--those first utilized by Very Ancient Africans attempting to express ideas and communicate with others (i.e. lines, circles, squares, triangles); (2) Natural Totemic in earthbound forms, used to express ideas; (3) Phallic--human sexual organs expressions of the Ancients; and (4) Astrological--those utilized to express ideas and concepts relative to objectives external to the planet earth. Contributing to the composing and expressing of symbolic language are the Temporal Lobe (especially the left hemisphere) + the Frontal + the Parietal lobes of ones brain.
Survival Symbols are those no longer having any utility but yet continue to exist because society has inherited the tendency to make them--e.g. stereotypes, false names (e.g. Achondroplasia), funereal urns carved on memorial monuments (once used to hold ashes of the dead). In the history of European Thought the word "Symbol" has had two very different meanings. In religion it is regarded as sensuous representations of transcendent reality--e.g. water, bread, wine, the cross. In systems of logical and scientific thought the term is normally used in the sense of an Abstract or Abstraction sign. Symbols participate in the reality to which they are a part. They have a life--coming into being, developing, and often dying. Otherwise, how Symbols appear in any given individual is based upon the spontaneous and unconscious form of Symbol packaging called up by ones mind. In turn, the appearing Symbol is based upon the inherited manner in which the mind perceives or attaches meaning (i.e. ascribes symbols) to experience. Symbols reverse the saying: "Can't see the forest for the trees." [Ref: King, African Origin]
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