Before symbols, primal reality engulfed human consciousness. We were essentially “at one” with, united with other primal units of being, but our awareness of ourselves as primal units within that primal reality was dim. More accurately, our submergence and engulfment limited our ability to add creatively to that primal reality. We knew primal reality directly – but too directly.
Symbols helped separate us as primal units within reality. However, they also distanced us from primal reality. As symbols became more complex, we, as primal units of reality, surrendered our union with primal reality in favor of symbols signifying primal reality. We formed communities and, eventually, civilizations around these symbols and became “at one” with these civilizations of symbols.
We no longer participated in primal reality at a primal level; our participation and knowledge of primal reality became increasingly symbolic. More aware but less direct.
The symbol communities and civilizations required loyalty and obedience to the symbols connecting to primal reality. Instead of being submerged in primal reality, we became submerged in communities of symbols signifying or pointing to primal reality. Such communities and civilizations worked as long as the symbols attempted to serve as sincere intermediaries to primal reality.
Over time, the symbols took precedence over the primal reality they signified. The more symbols eclipsed or stood in place of primal reality; the more diminished spiritual participation in primal reality became.
Instead of participating in primal reality, people participated in symbolic systems with the caveat that they began to regard the symbolic systems as primal reality rather than as connectors to primal reality. Reliance on symbols as primary reality increased individuation. We became more aware of ourselves as “units”; however, we also became less aware of ourselves as authentic units of reality. We became symbolic units.
Expanding disconnection between symbols and primal reality heightened our alienation. We have attempted to bridge this gap by returning to earlier modes of participation through the use of symbolic systems, but these have always failed for the simple reason that our participation was always limited to the symbol systems themselves.
A gaping void now separates symbols from primal reality. We can no longer rely on symbols as reality. Those who rely on or mistake symbols for reality are led hopelessly astray. They are crossing bridges leading to nowhere.
Symbols can still serve as intermediaries. They can, perhaps, still help connect us to reality, but only if we acknowledge them as intermediaries first. The knowledge we obtain via the intermediaries must go beyond or rise above the intermediaries. Such knowledge cannot be symbolic; it must be direct.
The reality symbols point to what must be self-discovered and directly known by each of us, individually and spiritually. We are bound to find that many symbols are partial or misguided intermediaries. In such cases, we must have the courage and creativity to stick to our direct knowledge.
Our task now is to reunite with primal reality, but as “ones” aligned with and in harmony with other “ones” in primal reality rather than as submerged, dissolved units “at one” with primal reality or as “ones” submerged in collective symbolic systems.