The symbolic world

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The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:25 am

Anybody familiar with Jonathan Pageau?
https://thesymbolicworld.com/videos/sar ... t-failure/
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:50 pm

is there something you would like to say?
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:17 pm

I was asking a question, but seeing as there is only your reply, I will explain.

Jonathan Pageau spends time making (amongst other things) videos on symbolism in the world and how it effects our everyday life. He does this to point out that our lives are rife with symbolism but when people are pointed out that Christianity uses symbolism to explain its beliefs, it becomes “only” symbolism.

The link I posted was to a very interesting talk about how the New Atheists actually fail to address what Christianity is about, but what they think it is about. The thing is that we have narratives in our lives that explain the world for us. Some of them are better than others, but it is never just rational science, like some people claim. Even scientists need to get away from their rational view now and again, and much of its inspiration arises outside of the lab. Added to that is the fact that we are not all scientists or intellectuals and so narratives have a special place in our everyday lives.

The point they made in the video was that if you don’t have something, you end up with anything. That means, if a narrative is suited as a means to help guide people through life, that is something. If you don’t have that it is replaced by anything, including narratives that are not suited to the task – even narratives that are destructive. Hence, we find that conspiracy narratives thriving amongst people who have no faith or orderly worldview that helps them order their lives.

The world of symbols helps us with archetypes and allegorical tales that have been at the centre of western culture for thousands of years. To assume that we are now educated enough to do without all that is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Curiously, the ideas surrounding Christianity in the modern age are relatively new. People in the past have relied on pictures and stories which were passed down orally, because people didn’t have books or couldn’t read. We need to take that into account when assessing Christianity.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:22 pm

I will check out the videos you reference. What you propose sounds very much like what I'm doing --becoming more aware of my own internal imagery and its connections to unconscious archetypes and the perennial wisdom of the world as a means of reanimating, re-ensouling, and re-enchanting my life.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:33 pm

Jonathan Pageau is a Greek Orthodox Christian and points to the fact that his religion is very symbolic in its liturgy and even the surroundings where it takes place. He says that the Old Testament and the stories around Jesus are just as allegorical as anything because you can see that the Gospels were composed rather than written as an attempt to report what happened. Also, the narrative leading from the old to the new in Christ is intended.

I think that this is an opening for people who remain on the periphery of Christianity. If you realise that the stories have a deeper symbolic meaning than just what you see on the surface, it makes many things than offend people’s intellect understandable. When you get to Paul and his statement that everything rests on the resurrection, it means that Jesus rose from the dead, albeit you couldn’t see him as “the walking dead.” The story is written with an intended mystery attached. It has to do with whether our consciousness is only material or whether there is something else going on there. I believe that the trinity is an indication to the fact that God creates, suffers with, and enlivens humankind in a real and profound way.

The main reason why this has any worth is that the experience of the Eucharist is a subtle spiritual experience that over centuries has strengthened the weak. The care for the sickly and dying is a spiritual experience. Prayer and contemplation are spiritual experiences. People have lost the access to the sacrament because of their intellectual problems with the narrative, but it is doing these things in devotion that gives us the push we need. It’s like swimming – if you don’t get in it will never happen.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:26 pm

Bob wrote:Jonathan Pageau is a Greek Orthodox Christian and points to the fact that his religion is very symbolic in its liturgy and even the surroundings where it takes place. He says that the Old Testament and the stories around Jesus are just as allegorical as anything because you can see that the Gospels were composed rather than written as an attempt to report what happened. Also, the narrative leading from the old to the new in Christ is intended.

I think that this is an opening for people who remain on the periphery of Christianity. If you realise that the stories have a deeper symbolic meaning than just what you see on the surface, it makes many things than offend people’s intellect understandable. When you get to Paul and his statement that everything rests on the resurrection, it means that Jesus rose from the dead, albeit you couldn’t see him as “the walking dead.” The story is written with an intended mystery attached. It has to do with whether our consciousness is only material or whether there is something else going on there. I believe that the trinity is an indication to the fact that God creates, suffers with, and enlivens humankind in a real and profound way.

The main reason why this has any worth is that the experience of the Eucharist is a subtle spiritual experience that over centuries has strengthened the weak. The care for the sickly and dying is a spiritual experience. Prayer and contemplation are spiritual experiences. People have lost the access to the sacrament because of their intellectual problems with the narrative, but it is doing these things in devotion that gives us the push we need. It’s like swimming – if you don’t get in it will never happen.

Yes. The Eucharist enacts in a ritual the participation in the Divine mystery of Life. The New Testament symbolizes the participation in that mystery in narrative forms. Fundamentalistic literalism demands that people believe the unbelievable as the price of admission to salvation. There's another way or an infinite number of ways depending on how you look at it.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:30 pm

i've been pleased over the last few years to notice a surge in interest on this subject
it's vital that our cultural wealth be preserved
and that this impoverishment of spirit that spreads under the moto of enlightenment be fought
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:44 pm

phoneutria wrote:i've been pleased over the last few years to notice a surge in interest on this subject
it's vital that our cultural wealth be preserved
and that this impoverishment of spirit that spreads under the moto of enlightenment be fought

It is even possible now to address the findings of science from a religious perspective. Diehard atheists will not admit such possibilities, but, I suspect you are right. Left-brain logic has had its day as sole interpreter of human reality. It's time we respect the intuitive, right brain interpretations, the subconscious world of mythology and religion. Logic is effective in naming the parts; intuition is effective in feeling them. To deny the efficacy of myth in interpreting existential angst and joy is to deprive oneself of a viable resource for understanding why humans believe in anything.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:46 pm

Ierrellus wrote: It is even possible now to address the findings of science from a religious perspective. Diehard atheists will not admit such possibilities, but, I suspect you are right. Left-brain logic has had its day as sole interpreter of human reality. It's time we respect the intuitive, right brain interpretations, the subconscious world of mythology and religion. Logic is effective in naming the parts; intuition is effective in feeling them. To deny the efficacy of myth in interpreting existential angst and joy is to deprive oneself of a viable resource for understanding why humans believe in anything.

I’ve found a biologist named Rupert Sheldrake interesting in his rejection of “the mechanistic worldview” as he put it. He has pointed out how much mystery surrounds the way life has formed its “becoming” and how the observation of, say, the workings of a tree can be a mystical experience. In fact, he has shown that delving into life spiritually means to “get inside” and get a feeling for what life really is. Of course, life isn’t “friendly”, as we would like it to be. It is always a case of a plant or animal putting itself first to survive and to procreate. However, the very fact that we live on and are part of a mass of living organisms, whirling around in space should amaze us.

We have been given to opportunity to observe this and reflect on what we see. Our portrayal of what we see depends on symbols and metaphors, just as the spiritual experience does. There are patterns of behaviour of just about everything, which provides archetypes. These patterns are also habitual rather than bound by “laws”. Of course, mankind also provides patterns of behaviour, which have been the basis for stories that have survived the test of time and provided us with narratives by which we judge a situation. As you say, we think mythologically (in patterns) even though it has been tried to undermine these narratives and replacing them with rationality.

There is always a story attached to what we value. Memories are stories. Stories come to mind when we meet people or watch them in the street. They are part of how we relate to others. They follow us into our dreams and religion. Stories make up who we are. I’m not saying that there is no place for rational thinking and science. We would be worse off without it. But there has been an attempt to de-mythologise life. It has been ridiculed as antiquated, outdated, and archaic, but we can’t make sense of this world without it.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:38 pm

And it's also amazing how other points of view can so quickly bind into patterns, like steal to a magnet, patterned into composite archytypes, that integrate into what we develop to call the soul

That is why Buddha's trance, under a tree, allegedly for what seems like an interminable time, keeps us almost in a trance


But then, it is also possible that some of these 'karmic effects' need not occur in the present lifetime, so much so, that the transition appears uninterrupted.

That makes one life value the wheel of life through a fantastic larger wheel of succeeding metaphors, connecting with it it's own tree (of life)

It looks like a drive shaft of three gears that can be engaged, then again disengaged , but the connections may be forgotten in one sense, but the clutch is always there.
Last edited by Meno_ on Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm

"Calvin had a very interesting theory of Christian symbolism. The symbols are significations of God's incomprehensible essence. He said that the symbols have to be momentary, disappearing, and self-negating. They are not the matter itself. I think this self-negating is the decisive characteristic of every symbol with respect to God; if they are taken literally, they produce idols. It is Calvin who said this, and not the mystical theology of a Pseudo-Dionysius. Thus, when we speak of symbolism when referring to God, we can refer to one who is certainly beyond suspicion of being less than orthodox." Paul Tillich

Compare that with what the Gnostics call the Pleroma and the Kabbalists call Ein Sof.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:50 pm

I don’t believe in god, however, on this vein, I’m in complete agreement when it comes to symbols.

I think our minds are sick (even mine) and I think the mind heals naturally with as little stimulus as possible.

Symbols jar the mind with overstimulation.

I just wear shirts, pants and shoes that have no messages. You wouldn’t ever catch me with a crucifix or Star of David or a yammika (sp?).

I think that the less natural we are, the sicker that we are. That’s my take even as an atheist.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:07 pm

I started working with clay earlier this year
and i made a few statues
i had no specific intention of a meaning for them
just let my hands do the talking
they are all female figures
and they speak when you look at them

(figuratively, they speak to my heart, I'm not that crazy yet bitches)
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:10 pm

Ecmandu your post reminded me of this:
Colors blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.

Tao 12
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:52 pm

Sam Harris in The End of Faith wrote:The problem with such hermeneutical efforts is that they are perfectly unconstrained by the contents of the texts themselves. One can interpret every text in such a way as to yield almost any mystical or occult instruction.

A case in point: I have selected another book at random, this time from the cookbook aisle of a bookstore. The book is A Taste of Hawaii: New Cooking from the Crossroads of the Pacific. Therein I have discovered an as yet uncelebrated mystical treatise. While it appears to be a recipe for wok-seared fish and shrimp cakes with ogo-tomato relish, we need only study its list of ingredients to know that we are in the presence of an unrivaled spiritual intelligence:

snapper filet, cubed
3 teaspoons chopped scallions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a dash of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cubed
1⁄2 cup heavy cream; 2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons rice wine; 2 cups bread crumbs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil; 2 1⁄2 cups ogo-tomato relish
The snapper filet, of course, is the individual himself —you and I— awash in the sea of existence. But here we find it cubed, which is to say that our situation must be remedied in all three dimensions of body, mind, and spirit.

Three teaspoons of chopped scallions further partakes of the cubic symmetry, suggesting that that which we need add to each level of our being by way of antidote comes likewise in equal proportions. The import of the passage is clear: the body, mind, and spirit need to be tended to with the same care.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper: here we have the perennial invocation of opposites—the white and the black aspects of our nature. Both good and evil must be understood if we would fulfill the recipe for spiritual life. Nothing, after all, can be excluded from the human experience (this seems to be a Tantric text). What is more, salt and pepper come to us in the form of grains, which is to say that our good and bad qualities are born of the tiniest actions. Thus, we are not good or evil in general, but only by virtue of innumerable moments, which color the stream of our being by force of repetition.

A dash of cayenne pepper: clearly, being of such robust color and flavor, this signifies the spiritual influence of an enlightened adept. What shall we make of the ambiguity of its measurement? How large is a dash? Here we must rely upon the wisdom of the universe at large. The teacher himself will know precisely what we need by way of instruction. And it is at just this point in the text that the ingredients that bespeak the heat of spiritual endeavor are added to the list—for after a dash of cayenne pepper, we find two teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger and one teaspoon of minced garlic. These form an isosceles trinity of sorts, signifying the two sides of our spiritual nature (male and female) united with the object meditation.

Next comes eight shrimp—peeled, deveined, and cubed. The eight shrimp, of course, represent the eight worldly concerns that every spiritual aspirant must decry: fame and shame; loss and gain; pleasure and pain; praise and blame. Each needs to be deveined, peeled, and cubed— that is, purged of its power to entrance us and incorporated on the path of practice.


That effectively addresses your version of christianity, I'd say...
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:18 pm

very funny but misses the point entirely
it is evident that humans can derive meaning from just about anything
that is not to say that these things, whether they are symbols or icons or fish recipes
contain, in themselves, the essence of something significant
it's us who do
we use symbols to make reference to something inside us
and why should there be any constrains to that?
the more we dig into or human minds, the more stuff seems to keep coming out
so if a fish recipe helps someone bring something into the realm of existence
by eliciting the start of a creative process
then who cares where that inspiration came from?
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:23 pm

phoneutria wrote:very funny but misses the point entirely
it is evident that humans can derive meaning from just about anything
that is not to say that these things, whether they are symbols or icons or fish recipes
contain, in themselves, the essence of something significant
it's us who do
we use symbols to make reference to something inside us
and why should there be any constrains to that?
the more we dig into or human minds, the more stuff seems to keep coming out
so if a fish recipe helps someone bring something into the realm of existence
by eliciting the start of a creative process
then who cares where that inspiration came from?



Conventional or not, it is within a reformed convention that actual facts relate with gnostic, and now cum mythological inconveniences.
I agree with that, on what basis?

It is like a cat chasing it's own tale then an optical effect of Ying Yang
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:33 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
Sam Harris in The End of Faith wrote:The problem with such hermeneutical efforts is that they are perfectly unconstrained by the contents of the texts themselves. One can interpret every text in such a way as to yield almost any mystical or occult instruction.

A case in point: I have selected another book at random, this time from the cookbook aisle of a bookstore. The book is A Taste of Hawaii: New Cooking from the Crossroads of the Pacific. Therein I have discovered an as yet uncelebrated mystical treatise. While it appears to be a recipe for wok-seared fish and shrimp cakes with ogo-tomato relish, we need only study its list of ingredients to know that we are in the presence of an unrivaled spiritual intelligence:

snapper filet, cubed
3 teaspoons chopped scallions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a dash of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cubed
1⁄2 cup heavy cream; 2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons rice wine; 2 cups bread crumbs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil; 2 1⁄2 cups ogo-tomato relish
The snapper filet, of course, is the individual himself —you and I— awash in the sea of existence. But here we find it cubed, which is to say that our situation must be remedied in all three dimensions of body, mind, and spirit.

Three teaspoons of chopped scallions further partakes of the cubic symmetry, suggesting that that which we need add to each level of our being by way of antidote comes likewise in equal proportions. The import of the passage is clear: the body, mind, and spirit need to be tended to with the same care.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper: here we have the perennial invocation of opposites—the white and the black aspects of our nature. Both good and evil must be understood if we would fulfill the recipe for spiritual life. Nothing, after all, can be excluded from the human experience (this seems to be a Tantric text). What is more, salt and pepper come to us in the form of grains, which is to say that our good and bad qualities are born of the tiniest actions. Thus, we are not good or evil in general, but only by virtue of innumerable moments, which color the stream of our being by force of repetition.

A dash of cayenne pepper: clearly, being of such robust color and flavor, this signifies the spiritual influence of an enlightened adept. What shall we make of the ambiguity of its measurement? How large is a dash? Here we must rely upon the wisdom of the universe at large. The teacher himself will know precisely what we need by way of instruction. And it is at just this point in the text that the ingredients that bespeak the heat of spiritual endeavor are added to the list—for after a dash of cayenne pepper, we find two teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger and one teaspoon of minced garlic. These form an isosceles trinity of sorts, signifying the two sides of our spiritual nature (male and female) united with the object meditation.

Next comes eight shrimp—peeled, deveined, and cubed. The eight shrimp, of course, represent the eight worldly concerns that every spiritual aspirant must decry: fame and shame; loss and gain; pleasure and pain; praise and blame. Each needs to be deveined, peeled, and cubed— that is, purged of its power to entrance us and incorporated on the path of practice.


That effectively addresses your version of christianity, I'd say...


Sam Harris practices meditation. Why?
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:44 pm

felix dakat wrote:"Calvin had a very interesting theory of Christian symbolism. The symbols are significations of God's incomprehensible essence. He said that the symbols have to be momentary, disappearing, and self-negating. They are not the matter itself. I think this self-negating is the decisive characteristic of every symbol with respect to God; if they are taken literally, they produce idols. It is Calvin who said this, and not the mystical theology of a Pseudo-Dionysius. Thus, when we speak of symbolism when referring to God, we can refer to one who is certainly beyond suspicion of being less than orthodox." Paul Tillich

Compare that with what the Gnostics call the Pleroma and the Kabbalists call Ein Sof.

Well, it is good to know that even old Calvin spoke of symbols with respect to God. Interesting though that he says that, taken literally, they become idols. In a particularly idol-ridden time such as our own, it does ask questions in the direction of evangelical Christianity.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:58 pm

phoneutria wrote:very funny but misses the point entirely
it is evident that humans can derive meaning from just about anything
that is not to say that these things, whether they are symbols or icons or fish recipes
contain, in themselves, the essence of something significant
it's us who do
we use symbols to make reference to something inside us
and why should there be any constrains to that?
the more we dig into or human minds, the more stuff seems to keep coming out
so if a fish recipe helps someone bring something into the realm of existence
by eliciting the start of a creative process
then who cares where that inspiration came from?


No one is arguing against artistic expression of any kind... or it's interpretation by an audience.
If that's your critique then it seems to me you've given the ground that was sought in the first place... religion is man made fiction (or art, if you prefer).

If you would but call it that then the argument would be over...

felix dakat wrote:Sam Harris practices meditation. Why?


I don't know... I assume because he gets some value out of it.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:00 pm

Mad Man P wrote:No one is arguing against artistic expression of any kind... or it's interpretation by an audience.
If that's your critique then it seems to me you've given the ground that was sought in the first place... religion is man made fiction (or art, if you prefer).

If you would but call it that then the argument would be over...


You misunderstood the point. The onus is on you to show what is not.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:26 pm

Mad Man P wrote:No one is arguing against artistic expression of any kind... or it's interpretation by an audience.
If that's your critique then it seems to me you've given the ground that was sought in the first place... religion is man made fiction (or art, if you prefer).

If you would but call it that then the argument would be over...


if you're trying to make a point against gods as literal "persons"
then sure
i mean i'm sure you can find some christians here to debate you if you've got a hardon for that
but that's not my thing

i gotta say though
it is also not fiction
as in it is not pulled out of thin air
religions, as subsets of culture
are knowledge that humans as a species have deemed important to preserve
because the stories represented by these symbols are a reflection of our history
they demonstrate, for example, that fairness and honesty are useful values and should be observed
because holding that to be true brought us to where we are
our stories, religious or not, contain the strategies that have assisted the thriving of our species

which brings me once again to tell you that you missed the point
the OP presents the notion that enlightment and science
brought on the awareness that religious scripture are not literal truths
so as a non believer you rid yourself of religion
but along with it you also rid yourself of the symbols that precede all religions
and are deeply associated with the evolutionary development of our psyche
so you end up with this big hole inside you where your psyche should connect to your consciousness
cuz you don't have any fucking symbols anymore to help make that connection
all you have is Marvel superhero stories
to make you almost tear up a bit for a moment before you go to the next distraction
and then you just live your life filling your time with bullshit because everything is meaningless

so maybe read the thread again dude
or don't, whatever, go burn some churches
whatever suits you papito
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:32 pm

phoneutria wrote:so you end up with this big hole inside you where your psyche should connect to your consciousness
cuz you don't have any fucking symbols anymore to help make that connection
all you have is Marvel superhero stories
to make you almost tear up a bit for a moment before you go to the next distraction
and then you just live your life filling your time with bullshit because everything is meaningless


And that's where communism comes in.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:55 pm

Alright,

I’m going to be much forceful and straight forward than before on this topic (after seeing others subsequent replies)

You cannot patent a color or shape. That’s psychological and social warfare of the worst kind.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:09 am

what the fuck are you talking about ec
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