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A More Expansive View Of Reality

Updated on December 23, 2013

The Big Picture?

I show you a series of five, ten, twenty and one dollar bills. I ask you "what's is this?"

You: "Money". Me: "Yep". "What else is it?"

You look at me with a blank stare and say "I don't know. What is it?"

Me: "a means to an end or a goal". You smile and say "Oh...Ok"

Me "what would you call your view as opposed to my view?" Blank stare again.

Me:" Your view is the literal view of money. Mine is the symbolic view of money. The bills are literally money...but symbolically they're a means to an end".

If our view of reality is only literal, we miss the symbolic view of reality. If it's only symbolic, we miss the literal view of reality. It's like being only able to see with one eye...we lose depth of perception


White Man Black Man

You see a "white" man...is he literally white or symbolically white?

You see a "black" man...is he symbolically black or literally black?

Neither man is probably, not literally "white" or "black" but are you really aware of that when you look at them? I don't think so

I asked a friend of mine who's "white" what color my skin was. He looked at me bewildered and said "Duh!...black!"

I picked up a black crayon and placed it next to my medium brown skin and asked "What color is the crayon and what color is my skin?" He replied kind of impatiently "Black!"

I said, "Take a closer look, isn't my skin brown?" He said "Yeah but....you're black"

I finally got him to see that my skin was brown and not literally black, but the crayon was literally black.


Psychologically amazing isn't it!

How we can be conditioned to see things symbolically as if they are literally a reality?

I don't think my friend is the only one who confuses symbolic thinking with the reality of his perceptions.

It's like thinking that the path of righteousness is literally a path through the woods. Or that the sky is literally a place.Or that the the "heavenly bodies" the stars and the planets, are literally living bodies.

Or that a king called "The Lion of Judah" is literally a lion in Judah.

Or that the Moon is in outer space, when, if you're on the Moon. the Earth is in outer space. They're both literally or symbolically in outer space depending on which one you're viewing the other one from.


Why is this important?

Because in extreme cases, this could be dangerous, if certain people confuse their symbolic view of reality with the literal view of reality. As in a paranoid person, who believes that you, a literal person, is really the symbolic person in his head, trying to kill him, so he kills you first!

There are less extreme examples of this, that in some situations, may even work to our advantage...but that's a hazardous thing to depend on wouldn't you agree?

So which do you prefer and which do you perceive?

The literal view of reality or the symbolic view of reality?

Or the more expansive view of reality encompassing both the literal and symbolic views of reality?

I thought so!

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