By Louis K. Dupré

ISBN-10: 0874621615

ISBN-13: 9780874621617

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Here a single gesture succeeds in expressing the entire depth and Page 9 interiority of a person. In privileged moments of contemplative repose, such as the one Joyce describes, the body appears what it has always been, a manifestation of spirit. Symbols enable the mind to perceive the permanent in the transient, the universal in the particular. Only when the mind grasps in the individual instance the reference to all others does it feel that it has reached the essence of the real. Symbolic perceptiveness became the most universal as well as the most enduring characteristic of the Western mind.

Symbolic structures, emancipated from a pre-established order and a rigid onto-theological hierarchy, are restricted only by self- Page 45 given principles. Composers have forced our acoustic perception to adjust to unaccustomed tonal combinations, painters have taught us to see beyond representation. The pioneers of science have hardly left a single foundation unshaken, including the meaning of such primary concepts as space, time, or matter. But unless cultural creativity be united by an inclusive unity, these semi-autonomous symbolic systems hold no more than fragments of meaning.

Symbolic structures, emancipated from a pre-established order and a rigid onto-theological hierarchy, are restricted only by self- Page 45 given principles. Composers have forced our acoustic perception to adjust to unaccustomed tonal combinations, painters have taught us to see beyond representation. The pioneers of science have hardly left a single foundation unshaken, including the meaning of such primary concepts as space, time, or matter. But unless cultural creativity be united by an inclusive unity, these semi-autonomous symbolic systems hold no more than fragments of meaning.

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Metaphysics and culture by Louis K. Dupré


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