Saturday, September 29, 2012

Does symbolic illiteracy make people more prone to Violence?!

"One might expect that the inventors of the alphabet would have excelled culturally, or that creativity that inspired the alphabet would lead to other significant advances. Yet the only area in which the phonecians can be credited with innovation is in the art of naval design....The most vivid description of phonecians come not from their own pens but from their enemies, the romans. in the final roman stages of the roman siege of carthage, the phonecians threw several hundred children, drawn from the finest families, onto stoked fires with bronze belly of the god moloch. This cruel deity could only be appeased by human sacrifice." 

As cilizations progressed from image based communnications, such as pictographs hieroglyphs, to non -iconic forms such as cuneiform, written communications became left-brain oriented. An alphabet, being the most abstract form of writing, enhances the left-brain values the most.. Unlike icons, which often evolved from images of things, an alphabetic word bears no resemblances to the object or action it symbolizes"
Alphabet Vs The Goddess by Leonard Shlain


Upon reading the Alphabet Vs The Goddess by Leonard Shlain where it displays an overview of history of societies that started to become more alphabetical, rather than symbolic which led the societies to become patriarchal. By becoming patriarchal it led to the subjugation of Women, too, since the left-brain became dominant when people started to read information alphabetically, according to Leonard Shlain



Knowing literature is linear and less dynamic than symbolism  it mostly gives stimulus to the left-side of the brain, the masculine side. For that matter, using your left-brain more than your right- side of your brain should make you more rigid and tense, which might be the reason why people being symbolically illiterate might make them more prone to violence, for having that imbalance. On saying that, the right-side of the brain is the feminine side, which is where creativity flows. If we had a culture which encourages people to become symbolically literate wouldn't this make people have psychological equilibrium? ! Perhaps it would. As oppose of people looking at numbers and words everyday, which keeps us locked in the left-brain, and ultimately stops the flow of consciousness. If your always thinking in words and numbers you might become very frustrated and tensed up. Here's Gary Lachman making a reference to Colin Wilson

"Wilson sees the roots of crime and cruelty in the sudden development of left-brain consciousness"
Gary Lachman, A secret history of consciousness


Colin Wilson is known for doing extensive studies in serial killers and Violence, by the way. We should start asking the question if the encouragement of symbolic literacy might make our world less violent and more peaceful, perhaps.



We hear about violent criminals who were inarticulate until they started to read books in prison. When they started to do this they became more peaceful and calm since they learned how to express themselves through words. Wouldn't learning how to become symbolically literate make you more peaceful since your using your brain holistically when you read them?



‎"Symbolism should be employed throughout the process of education, for by it two definite ends are attainable. First, the student will instinctively reveal to the teacher the constitution of his reasoning part by interpretation he places upon the symbols; second, the student will be stimulated to originality and thereby preserve peculiar technique of his own rational processes. The death of originality is the death of genius.

Symbolism encourages originality, and hence is productive of genius, Symbols can be devised to induce almost any desired thought or emotion, By the use of emblematic figures alone, abnormality can be corrected and subnormality raised to a normal state"

Manly P Hall
Lectures on ancient Philosophy






Symbolic literacy should be imperative in our education to make us more psychologically holistic. If it 's true what Leonard Shlain articulated in his book, where societies and cultures started to devalue the feminine values when literacy triumphed over symbolism, we should start taking symbolism seriously then. Although we should not get rid of our literacy, but we should  use symbolism once again in our culture. This will make us more dynamic and creative as human beings, it'll open up the right brain more and let the feminine energy flow through us more frequently. It might even open up higher transcendental realms to us.


"All photographs increase the status of the image -recognition skills of the right brain of both sexes. The factor in reinforces a cultural interest in art, myth, nature nurture and poetry."

If so,  what would symbolic literacy do to us ?






1 comment:

  1. Nice view on symbols vs nbrs or words. Thanks! Dennis

    ReplyDelete