Of Sense and Synchronicity – A Practical Approach to Esoteric Thinking
Shamblogger Steve Salerno recently commented that people who live a faith-based existence seem, in his experience, to simply be “nicer” people than the secular humanists he has encountered. Personally, I know some nice secu lar humanists, but I have experienced a parallel in respect to differences I have observed in those I would term “literalists” vs. “symbolists how to write a cause and effect essay “.
Literalists, for purposes of my discussion here, are those who generally view life as a series of cause-effect relationships. They see themselves as sensible, responsible and grounded (and may very well be). They think strategically and practically about life, and value the “realistic”. Rooted in the concrete, “material” plane, they may be tend toward linear thinking (if you are lost and need directions, ask a literalist). Life is regarded as a WYSIWYG series of events. They may have a religious orientation, but it tends to be more dogmatic and rule-based with fairly clear guidelines for behavior and what constitutes “good” or “bad”. In the extreme, they tend toward fundamentalism.
Symbolists, on the other hand, tend to be of the notion that “there is more going on here than meets the eye.” They tend to be drawn to the language of metaphor and are more comfortable considering information from sources that would make many literalists cringe such as employing the use of astrology, Tarot, feng shui or other esoterica when making significant decisions. Synchronistic events are deemed noteworthy and given careful regard whereas a literalist might simply pass the same off as a “funny coincidence” with no further practical value. Symbolists, who are interested not only in “horizontal” or linear “Point A to Point B” progressions, but who are also drawn to look for “vertical” or transcendent themes and patterns in daily life, tend to be non-linear thinkers.
I make no comparison between these two groups in terms of intellectual prowess or their likelihood of being able to achieve worldly success and meet the material demands of existence. I do, however, believe that the symbolists seem to fare far better than the literalists when coping with difficulties and losses, particularly in regard to unanticipated events.
As you may surmise, I count myself strongly among the symbolists and it is from this perspective that I write. I will confess that, as many symbolists tend to gravitate toward the fringes of mass society, I was closeted (to a degree) in my world view out of a concern that readers might question my groundedness and ability to be of good, practical service to them. All the while, behind the scenes, I have been immersed in symbolist framed discussions with many of the most compelling and well-adjusted people I have ever known, as well as being continually engaged in study of work by others of this bent, and the evidence is that the symbolists appear to be far more resilient, positively engaged with life and energized on the whole, particularly in the face of adversity, than their literalist counterparts.
I will contend that one can be a symbolist regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation. I do believe, however, that a symbolist world view implies some sense of the spiritual in life, or at least a contention that there is some over-riding order to the Universe. If we are to look at such things as synchronicity, symbolic and metaphoric occurrences in life, by definition these events refer to something beyond themselves. That transcendent or “meta-space” is one that I personally refer to as spiritual but I encourage you to term it in whatever way fits your outlook the best.
It is important to realize that a symbolist view has a very practical aspect. At least it will as you see me discuss it here. I have known far too many individuals who are drawn to esoterica, going to psychics, astrologers and palm readers, for example, but then do absolutely nothing with the information they get. Self-soothing with the stars is absolutely NOT what I am espousing here. For me, the practical, personal usefulness of a symbolist viewpoint is a certainty. For the many of you who have asked me how I can always keep a sense of humor, retain my optimism and stay passionately engaged in life this is it. I am spilling the beans completely here. However, regardless of what I do or do not practice in this arena, I will never suggest that you explore any forms of divination or ask you to adopt a belief system from any schools of thought I present.