During the past few months I have been studying an extraordinarily interesting paper written by Joseph Campbell, whose name will be familiar to many of you as the author of a book on mythology called The Hero With a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell is also the editor of the post you must works of Heinrich Zimmer, which had been published by the bowling and foundation and as a matter of fact an extraordinary amount of those works is his own original writings and they were compiled from Heinrich Zimmer’s notes. But the particular paper I mention now was presented I think in one hundred fifty seven in August at the end on us conference in US Kona in Switzerland a meeting of scholars and philosophers and psychologists and scientists which gathers every year under the auspices of a lady who has for a long time been interested in the work of C.G. Jung. And the particular paper which Joseph Campbell presented at this conference was called the symbol without meaning it isn’t published in this country as yet and only appears in the book for nine hundred fifty seven which was published in Switzerland. But I expect it will shortly be forthcoming in the Ex UPS from the papers delivered at those conferences which are published by the bowling and foundation. 


Now this particular paper the symbol without meaning is an exploration. Of an extraordinary phenomenon in the history of religions, which you might call the in the beginning the development and the dissolution of cosmologists of great views of the world under religio- philosophical auspices which are the, as-it-were, languages about the universe devised by various cultures. Now he distinguishes between two great phases in man’s religious history. Which he equates with two styles of culture which predate our own technological style of culture. And these are respectively the hunting cultures and the agrarian cultures. And he points out that the kind of religion which is characteristic of a hunting culture is what now generally goes by the name of Shamanism although this particular word is a distinctive of Mongolian styles of so-called primitive religion nevertheless the phenomenon known as shamanism is found distributed all over the planet. 


Shamanism is characterized by the fact. That it’s a very individualistic type of religiousness that is to say the religious experience of the shaman is not something which he gets from an authoritative priesthood is not something handed down from generation to generation. For which he goes to a human teacher. The Shaman is a solitary medicine man. A man of power. When variably has to find his experience for himself. Usually it is by going alone into the dangers of the forests or jungles. Or holing himself up for some days in his own heart and undergoing some kind of ordeal. Not necessarily on the physical level so much as on the psychic level going through an adventure in the psychic. Well the world of spirits and when he comes through the ordeal. He comes out and initiate of. The reason why one must a tap so much importance to the individual character of this experience is that it goes along of the general style of a hunting culture in which every individual man contains the whole culture. That is to say, [it] is not the kind of culture in which specialized functions on needed in which there is a division of labor the hunter spends much of his time on his own. And he has to learn to take care of himself in the forests without any other human aid. And although there are societies and social groups there composed of men with women and children men who are equals because of the type of life that they follow. 


Now an entirely different state of affairs arises when we get a settled agrarian culture. Here because the style of life is more complex, a division of labor is required. And you begin to get not only a separation of human beings into various costs and various functions, but also the necessity of devising far more complex complex languages and institutions to provide communication between them. And this always involves a very very powerful socialization of the individual. Spending his time more and more in a settled place and therefore having greater intercourse with other people, he has to learn to think in accordance with common patterns. Whether these patterns be based on language or on the type of work, the geographical features of the area which he inhabits or whatever they may be each individual has to subordinate himself more and more to a socially implanted view of life. Because only on these are these conditions as communication between the individuals possible. 


And so it comes about that the style of religiousness which one associates with an agrarian as distinct from a hunting culture is a traditional and authoritative style of religion in which the individual derives his experience from a tradition usually embodied in a priesthood. And the Campbell goes on to point out, that the first historical instances of the appearance of the familiar circle symbol which is called in Sanskrit the Mandala is associated with the agrarian cultures. No example of this kind of symbol is found archaeologically. Prior to the development of an agrarian community. Now I might say something about the Mandala as a world mythological symbol although anybody who’s studied the works of C.G. Jung is very familiar with it. A mandala is essentially a circle, really divided into four quarters or multiples of four, and has in it as it were the general theme of the integration. Of a community. It is not unlike for example a stockaded. Village or city. A ring of defense around. Senta. And Campbell shows that the symbol represents the formation of the kind of society we’re talking about where. The human functions are divided and we find in many of these ancient societies that the functions are precisely divided into four. Four groups. Just as in medieval Europeans society we had the spiritual power, the priesthood. The temporal power, the nobility. The Commons and the serfs. And so, in ancient Indian society we had the Brahmana, the priesthood the kshatriya caste, the rulers and soldiers. The vaishya caste, the commoners or merchants and the Shudra caste, the laborers. 


So these four castes, represented as it were, represented by the fall of divisions of the Mandela the common integrated encircled community. And, the important point that he makes about its religiousness is as I said that it was an experience carried down by tradition. And experience in which a priestly caste was the authority, and which had to be a common experience just because the whole style of life in a community of this kind depended upon communication. And we can communicate with each other by virtue not only of sharing a common language but also and more importantly by sharing a common view of the world, a common type of sensuous experience which is because why those who have the type of sent to us experiences which we call hallucinations and delusions do not fit easily into a community. But every so often, his paper goes on to show, social cosmologies, his views of the world held in common by societies tend to break up. And actually he starts the paper. In the fifteenth century when through the expansion of the Western world through not only exploration of the surface of the globe but greater knowledge of astronomy begins to break up the geocentric view of the Ptolemaic universe, the view of the world under which Christianity itself had come to birth. And this he looks upon as a breaking up of the Mandala, a breaking up of the common all agree stable picture of the world by means of which men were able to communicate with each other, and a breaking up therefore which involves a disruption of all our means of communication. And a throwing of culture into a fundamental confusion. It is perhaps, if this be true, just because of the breaking up of a unified worldview. And an entry into the confused world of the relativistic world of modern thought. That the Western peoples have become interested in other and forma attempts to deal with. Life as it as it must be lived when. The Mandala as it were, breaks up. 


For after all. The idea of going beyond the come in all view of the world and somehow managing to get along without it is not a new thing. And it’s very interesting that in ancient Indian society and to some extent even still in modern Indian society, that when a man has done his work in the society and is able to hand over his caste duties, whether they be priestly or political or professional to his son or sons. That as I think you all know he as it were abandons the world. And gives up cost and becomes what is ordinarily called a sannyasin. We speak of that usually as holy man or hermit. Or a spiritual devotee of some kind but what is of particular interest in this connection is that the so the abandonment of cost is also called entering into the state of Varna trust path of honor prosper and Sanskrit means a forest dweller. And in this sense, the batter who gives up cost. Goes back as it were. To the style of life that predates the agrarian culture he goes as it were back to shamanism. And this is true not only in Indian culture but also in Chinese thought whereas the Confucian way of life represents the community development shop that is what the Mandala corresponds to. The enclosed nice little tight little world. World in which we feel we understand each other understand our environment. In China. And the Taoist philosophy corresponding to the Indian. Search for liberation or Moksha liberation that is to say from the socially conditioned view of the world and. There is evidence to show that the dollars solitaries say. Has. Some sort of ancestral connection with the shaman. And it is possible that the words from Ana in Sanskrit and Sherman and Chinese both have their origin in the Tom Sherman. And Bush Rama indicates the Sunyata and the man who has given up social life in the world and likewise the Sharman in Chinese is the lonely sage in quest of immortality who has gone by himself into the mountains and the forests. 


Of course we should not suppose, that the entry into the stage of Ana Prost or the return to the forest by the DA is sages in the strict sense of the word or regression. It’s no more aggression and when we speak of a wise man as one who has become again as a child we don’t mean that he has literally become childish that he has forgotten how to think and speak and behave in human society. And in exactly the same way the person who enters in the stage. Van across the does not as it were become a wolf man a sort of wild savage who runs around in the jungle naked and wears no clothes and eats his food off the ground with his teeth he doesn’t do anything of the kind but the some sort of analogy and other words between. Going back to the shamans religion, going back to the life of the hunter, and at the same time going beyond the place where we find ourselves in a society where the world view is a conditioned social pattern. And now in what sense and in just what way is this going beyond. And likewise, how does it apply to our own situation where we are not as it were going voluntarily beyond a nice clear. Or thorough Tate even comfortable view of the world but rather being forced beyond it by the very pressure of events by the uncertainty of our times and by the confusion. And instability of modern thought which offers us no secure and humanly comfortable picture of the universe. Well first of all it must be obvious that. One of the things that is principle involved by a social system of communication. Is that it is a form of what Korzybski has called time-binding. The whole possibility of thought and language involves a codification of experience. It involves. A form of thinking about life which is basically after all description. 


Now, description is a way of coding. Putting into symbols the events that go by us. And as we begin to be able to put events into symbols we develop most peculiar powers of memory. It becomes much easier to recollect and to formalize what has happened to us and along with this naturally gives the ability to project our recollection into thoughts about the future course of events. And this apparently is something which. Primitive, very primitive types of human being in which animals do not do to any great extent. But the price that is always paid for this ability to describe and to prefigure what is going to happen to us is that it has a very very alarming effect upon our emotions. Because we are able by being able to think about all sorts of future possibilities to experience the emotions appropriate to those possibilities as if they were present happenings. In other words the civilized man tends to be in a state of chronic worry and fear and anxiety because he is always confronted not with the simple actuality of what is happening before him but with the innumerable possibilities of what might happen. And since because of this his emotional existence tends to be in a chronic state of anxiety and tension. He loses increasing the ability to relate to the concrete world as it manifests itself to him in the actual present in which he lives he becomes so tied up inside that as it were the annals of his sensibility become blocked he gets a kind of neurological sclerosis a kind of inability to give himself. To be spontaneous to be alive with full joyous abandon thus the most civilised we become the most stuffy we get. 


And therefore the various. Ways of liberating oneself from. A society of entering what the Indians call vanprastha, the life of forest going back to the forest when a person reaches a certain point in life when he says Now look here, I’ve had enough of all this I’m simply tired of. Making life not in the least bit worth living by going through the horrors, as to what might happen. Of going through all this in the name of efficiency and membership in the community let me for a while get away from it all and find out what the score is for myself I’m tired of being told what I ought to believe I’m tired of being told how I ought to see how I ought to behave how I ought to feel let me find out for myself who I really am. And so, these institutions of going back as it were to the shaman state of religion of getting away from the community interpretation of how one ought to think and feel, arises in very many great cultures of the past. Now they are arise therefore again today, and it’s perhaps impossible and misleading to try and have what I would call authoritative attitude about this phase of man’s spiritual exploration. Sometimes for example, when a person wants to find out who he really is, he goes to a psychiatrist and occasionally he will find a kind of psychiatry just who does not have an awful rotated view of what human health is and who simply helps the individual to find his own way. Other times unfortunately we will find the doctrinaire. Psychotherapists who think they know what an integrated healthy and normal human being is and to have a whole theoretic pattern of what is believed to be that it actual fact all of what are believed to be the actual facts of human nature the actual design of the psyche and they attempt consciously or subconsciously to wangle the patient into accepting this view. 


Alternatively, we may get from the Orient accounts, books about authorities about their ways of liberation which in many cases however have tended to harden into an orthodoxy and to present a traditional spiritual experience just as if they were the kind of spiritual experiences which it is the function of that social office of the priest to impart. And thus, when we get Swamis representing an orthodox interpretation of Indian moksha or liberation or when we get. Even Zen masters are representing perhaps an orthodox Buddhist experience of seeming to represent one we should be suspicious because these are the kind of experiences which cannot be transmitted, which for their very nature are something which one finds out for oneself and which if they could be explained if they could be transmitted would not be the very thing which they are intended to be. Because they are discoveries of something authentic of something genuine or something which is first hand between oneself and one’s universe. And thus it’s in the nature of things that they can’t be codified, they can’t be made a factor in social communication. 


And so it is that it is in a way fortunate, that we here in the Western world do not have too many authoritative or attentive masters and teachers to whom we feel we can now go for enlightenment more and more of us I think tend to feel that we are all alone together whistling in the dark that we haven’t a Savior there is no statesman a clever enough to understand the frightful tangle of international affairs is already there to do anything very much about it there is no. A psychologist office issue an awful lot of us who really impresses us as having the last word on everything more and more each one of us are thrown on our own resources and this is to me to be a perfectly excellent state of affairs. So that we become in a symbolic sense, back in the forest. Like the hunter of old. Who is nobody around him to tell him how he ought to feel and how he ought to use his senses and must therefore make his own exploration and find out for himself. But you know, when you study the records of these self discoveries, the fascinating thing is. That there seems to be such a common measure of agreement between all those who find out for themselves. And yet always, the way in which he has to find out is not through seeking agreement with others not trying to find what others are found, but only to find what his own senses and his own direct experience tell him when he as it were goes into his in a closet goes into his own secret place. And asks for direct encounter with the world. And no longer as it were looks out of the corner of his eyes to see if everybody else is doing with same thing and getting the same results it is in the sense that a person becomes in the truest sense of the word a self. And original authoritative source of life, as distinct from a person in its original sense a mask, a role that he is playing in a society.