ed. Omar K Neusser

Notes On Symbolism, edited from René Guénon & DRG

Symbolism is the best adapted means for the teaching of truths of a higher order, those which belong to religion or metaphysics; of everything which rejects or disregards the modern spirit; it is entirely opposite of what befits rationalism, and all of its adversaries conduct themselves, some unwittingly, as true rationalists. SSS13

Our own point of view is that if symbolism is misunderstood today, then this is one more reason to insist on it and to lay open as completely as possible the real significance of the traditional symbols.

(This can be done) by restoring their entire intellectual scope, instead of making of it the topic of some sentimental preaching for which - by the way - the use of symbols is most unnecessary. SSS13

(A question to pose:)

Why does one encounter - openly declared or not - so much hostility regarding symbolism? Certainly because this is a mode of expression, which has become completely foreign to modern mentality and because man is naturally inclined to mistrust what he doesn't understand. SSS13

DRG: Our modern world - because of the triumph of rationalism and quantity - has come to forget the fundamental heritage of the primordial tradition, thus turning (this modern world) blind and incapable to realize the spirit of a true intellectuality. This is a spirit which is capable to obtain authentic knowledge. DRG472

"It is the language of the Infinite Spirit communicating with the finite spirits." Berkeley

"And in the beginning was the word." Bible

DRG: Far from being in opposition with each other, symbolism and language participate one and the other in the same demonstrative and suggestive nature.

What language shows or suggests with words is immediately and visually revealed by the Symbol, therefore words and images are closely complimentary and enrich each other mutually.

However, if language is essentially analytical and ’discursive’, the symbol calls on direct intuition, on a sensible perception which is not an ’inferior intuition’, but which is1 a possibility to open those really unlimited perspectives… DRG473

So symbolism therefore is not only a necessity because of the condition of human nature, but it imposes itself even more so because its origin2 is and cannot be anything else than ’the non-human’.3

Actually, if one would for one moment pay attention to it, it is easy to determine that the laws of nature are nothing but a reflection, certainly an imperfect reflection, but never-the-less a reflection of the Divine laws, of the Divine ’Will’, and this is something which positively signifies that symbolism has its origin and its source beyond the human realm, that it is at the heart of the Principle itself. DRG473 lu-ro


1 - according to R. Guénon

2 - if one would sufficiently reflect on it

3 - The ’supra-human’

See also:
Creation, Non-Being, Modernity

See also external site:

Refuting lies about Islam: Symbolism and allegory in the Quran

”How can we he expected to grasp ideas which have no counterpart, not even a fractional one, in any of the apperceptions which we have arrived at empirically?”

”The answer is self-evident: By means of loan-images derived from our actual - physical or mental - experiences; or, as Zamakhshari phrases it in his commentary on 13:35, "through a parabolic illustration, by means of something which we know from our experience, of something that is beyond the reach of our perception."”

More Texts:

freedom of thought
his personal traits
islamic tradition
metaphysical zero
role of spiritual master
The Source - the Supreme Center
spiritual teachers
the end of time

upd_ 2017-10-19
from 2016-11-16

back to Signposts < index >