Understanding the Essence of Man's Mythical and Symbolizing Consciousness

The multiple ways of looking at the nature of abstract and mythical speaking "affirmation" of a Deity or God must also be regarded by anyone who tries to make an inventory of the diverse points of view with regards to documenting or studying the "about" of God within human society. There are several ways to do this. Many disciplines, such as psychiatry, sociology, psychoanalysis, literary research, behavioral anthropology and linguistics, investigate metaphors and theories. These disciplines answer the numerous issues of images and theories from their own particular points of view. At once, the demanding attitude of a certain science defines the type of response that will be received. When addressing religious images and myths, this maxim also extends to the phenomenology of comparative religion: it also talks in a certain way and attempts to arrive at a certain way of thinking.

Philosophy, however, does not treat images and myths in the same manner as comparative theological phenomenology. When one attempts to grasp images and myths, the latter resides within the order of the symbolic. It searches for similarities, analogies and systematizations in the field of symbols.  "Understanding" is detailed and panoramic, fascinated but not concerned. The "truth" inscribed in the phenomenology of comparative religion may be called the grasping of the inner relations and the systematization of the universe of symbols, the understanding of symbols by symbols. The phenomenologist of religion himself, however, is not involved. In the phenomenology of comparative religion there is no room for the question, Do I myself believe this? One passes from one symbol to another without being oneself "somewhere" there. 

This non-committal stance of the comparative religion phenomenologist is not that of the philosopher. We raise the question: Do I believe this myself? Not, of course, as, with reference to each and every image and myth, we raise the metaphysical question about reality, but as we seek to grasp the meaning of the symbolizing and mythical consciousness of man. In what way, abstract and mythical consciousness stands as obscurity in reality.

Various points of view can be discerned in the quest for the metaphysical reality of religious icons and myths. In order to provide a basis for their "denial" of God, there are thinkers who deny mythical speech. Others do the same to purify God's "affirmation" but they deny only an understanding of myths that is untenable in their opinion. Finally, there are theorists who believe mythical speech to be the only way to talk "about" God. Naturally, what they mean by this depends on their understanding of mythical knowledge.

The persons who deny myths in order to give their "denial" of God a justification generally say that the mythical consciousness is equivalent to the positive science consciousness. They are unable to acknowledge that the true consciousness of man still means a mystical component, that it is also mythical in nature. In their opinion, validity is solely assured by reason, i.e., by setting yourself objectively at a distance, the capacity to make meaning appear as impartial meaning. Mythical consciousness, they claim, does not objectively distance itself and is thus doomed by all sorts of "fictions" "fables" "fabrications" and "illusions" to blur objectivity.

It is fair that the prestige of the positive sciences compelled these individuals to describe as logical logic the rationality they oppose to mythical consciousness. In this way, legend and science are rivals. Consciousness, they said at first, is mythical, but this consciousness is also primal. Authentic, non-primitive consciousness is empirical. Then, consciousness completely abandons its mythical period in the course of its creation. The mind of man arrives at maturity by three stages, a theological level, a metaphysical stage, and then the stage of positive science.

Man sees nature's phenomenon in the theological process as contingent on divine causes: God, gods, or ghosts. This can be called "fictitious stage" because man depends entirely on his imagination in his attempts to connect nature's phenomenon with a transcendent purpose. We can not say that this first step has become unimportant in the history of the human mind. By comparison, any such kind of theory was essentially impossible because of the basic state of man. But this first step was also the one that made possible future growth and the human mind's eventual maturity.

It is apparent that the transition from the theological period, which depended entirely on imagination, to the phase of constructive science could not take place without an intermediate phase. Theology and physical science are so far apart that the maturity of optimistic science needs a transitional period. This transformation was suggested by Metaphysics.

The typical characteristic of this phase of metaphysics is that it substitutes enigmatic forces called "substances" for the divine influence of Heaven, gods and spirits. The interpretation of the phenomenon of existence is thereby no longer attributed to causes that exceed nature, but refers to causes that lie within nature itself. However, these triggers are so subtle and abstract that someone with good reason would realize that only one thing has been achieved in the final analysis: the manifestations themselves have been assigned odd names. These events, in other terms, remain mysterious, for the so-called theories are little more than fancies. This intermediate stage, however, is very important: it replaces the principles of the theological stage and opens the way for the final stage of the mind of nature.

Anything becomes distinct at the scientific level of the creation of the mind. Now the mind turns by means of perception to the phenomenon of nature. It is no longer involved in transcendent or immanent causes, but rather in the rules by which the phenomenon are related that are empirically verifiable. Someone who is familiar with positive science should know that this is the only approach the experienced mind should adopt. The only true way to understanding, in short, is one of physical science.

It implies, of course, that the overall spectrum of phenomena is encompassed in theory by constructive philosophy. For the belief that, on the one side, the mind sticks tight to a primitive way of philosophizing will be a paradox, yet, on the other hand, has adopted a way of thought that is entirely the reverse of that primitive approach. However, in fact, the universal spectrum of positive theory has not been met yet. There is already a significant gap in the system; "social physics" is what is most desperately needed, and this research does not yet exist.

The philosophy will be achieved as soon as all basic views become homogeneous. Then philosophy will never change its essence again, and any future progress will merely be a matter of new additions. Optimistic philosophy will affirm its natural supremacy through the force of its universality and will simply take over the position of theology and metaphysics. In the future, historians will be involved only in the "historical existence" of these early stages.

Theology will necessarily give up the ghost when it comes face to face with physical science. Combating the "affirmation" of God is not important. There will be so much "progress" that people interested in history at some stage in the future will wonder what has happened to the "affirmation" So it would become clear that the backwardness of the religious process in the creation of the mind has been resolved without any battle against God by constructive philosophy. The claims of the constructive sciences would then tend to have substituted theological fancies and metaphysical abstractions. The kingdom of God will then be fulfilled forever, and without leaving any unanswered questions, God will have vanished.

The "affirmation" of God, is therefore related to mythical consciousness, but this consciousness is only "provisional" There would vanish the propensity to construct "fictions" and "fables" in which gods and ghosts are introduced to justify matters that can be scientifically explained. We accordingly refuse God's "affirmation" because we want to speed up the birth of scientific consciousness.