Saturday, 17 September 2022

Our memories of paradise...

The paradise-imago - or myth, or story - is the symbol par excellence

I imagine that is why it is so universal and why it has so many ramifying significances. 

Paradise is the symbol of symbols; because it symbolizes, not so much any single non-physical archetype, but non-physical existence in general - non-physical existence as such

You will never understand symbols until you have grasped that pre-historic man in his unconscious goes back - not to the animal kingdom, as the nineteenth century fondly imagined - but to a paradisal state where there was no death; because there was no matter.

Edited from page 124 of Worlds Apart by Owen Barfield (1963)

This passage, put into the mouth of "Sanderson", describes a key assumption of Owen Barfield's metaphysics - which he derived from Rudolf Steiner and which I learned from him; which is an inversion of the usual assumption that matter precedes spirit. Barfield instead regards matter as 'condensing' from spirit; as a 'concentrated' form of spirit. 

And Barfield also assumes that we (and all physical Beings) all existed as spirit, before we incarnated - before we transformed into bodies. This is part of Mormon theology (thus preceding Steiner). 

In this mortal incarnation; bodies bring death - and indeed this physical world is a world of death (of entropy). 

But we have memories of having lived in a past world without death - a world of spirit: we have memories of 'paradise', and these are widely manifested in many symbols, myths, and nostalgia for a Golden Age. 

And Christians have faith in the hope of living in a future world without death; which is a world of resurrection. A world where we (and other Beings) are incarnated in bodies that do Not die: bodies and physical forms that are everlasting, immortal, eternal.