SYMBOL AND ARCHETYPE -The Study of the Meaning of Existence
The Study of the Meaning of Existence Martin Lings With reference to the great religions of the world, and in particular to Christianity and Islam, Martin Lings here gives us the answer in the clearest terms, with an unusually wide scope of illustration and versatility to the question; What is Symbolism? The answer to this question has been known to change altogether a man’s life; and ignorance of it can reasonably be said to have produced all the gravest problems of our times. At one point we are gripped by the universal message of four old Lithuanian songs which speak to us, in the language of symbols, from a remote antiquity; at another we are with the Queen of Sheba at her deeply symbolic meeting with Solomon, as recounted in the Qur’an. The central theme is man, stripped of his subhuman excrescences and re-endowed with his infinitely precious primordial heritage and the reader is quickly impelled to identify himself with that centre. Nor is it only his intelligence that impels him, for the further we read, the more we renew our deeply ingrained consciousness that everything— numbers, elements, senses, colours etc.— has a vertical dimension that gives it a divine significance; and this awareness brings with it an existential sense of that dimension in ourselves.