Sunday, July 17, 2011

DEAD SYMBOLS

"A symbol torn away from the transcendent experience that generated it is a morbid thing. It has died as surely as the body dies once the heart is torn out. The world we build from cadaverous symbols is the world of the dead--Blake's Ulro. The symbols are still with us; they must be as long as there is human culture--language, art, thought, all are crafted symbols. But dead symbols are counterfeits, in the same way a well-embalmed corpse counterfeits a live body. And just as a corpse becomes more grotesque the more it is painted to imitate life, so a defunct symbol only grows ghastlier the more desperately we labor to disguise its death with the pretense of life."

-Theodore Roszak, "Uncaging Skylarks: The Meaning of Transcendent Symbols"

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