1. Catholic Theologian Jean Borella explains the significance of the symbol in this way:
“The symbol is only the prolongation of the symbolized on the plane of its manifestation”
There above suggests explicitly that a symbol is intimately connected with that with which it is symbolizing in the same way that the rays of the Sun are connected to the Sun itself. I have found it helpful to think of the symbol as an emanation.
2. I have long contended that one of the primary symptoms of the modern West is that it no longer understands traditional symbolism, and therefore does not understand its own past. Borella provides a satisfying explanation for this phenomenon, claiming that the reason why we no longer understand symbolism is because, “we lose sight of the internal rapport of correspondence that the symbol maintains with its archetype”.
These are loaded terms, particularly the use of the term archetype. However, I dare to venture that Borella is positing an underlying supreme reality to which each symbol corresponds and leads the contemplative towards.
3. If the modern west no longer understands symbolism it is because it fundamentally denies any supreme reality or truth to which any symbol could correspond. However, we still innately recognize the power of symbol. Yet, we associate these symbols with psychological and individualistic archetypes most often associated with the “subconscious” or some other dubious “reflection of the mind”.
Is modernity inherently solipsistic?