We follow in the footsteps of many great minds. The scope and potential of this broadened approach was set out clearly in a short book by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, Du symbole et de la symbolique, or The Symbol and the Symbolic. He predicts that “it is rational science, which today has reached what is already being called the surrational, that will open the way towards esotericism of a suprarational nature.”
This book is our personal response. It is based on our studies of the greatest of the myths, those that first appeared in Mesopotamia and Egypt and were distributed to Europeans by way of the Hebrews and the Greeks. These myths embody a quality of thought and feeling that is now being widely sought throughout the Western world. Through these studies we have come to believe that myth can provide a substantial base from which to restore a balance in general perspective to our present civilization. We have become especially aware of the need to cultivate the more sensitive and introspective sides of our natures, and to distinguish them more clearly from the external social influences that can oppose or obscure them. The frenzy, confusion, and even violence that plague our social and political atmosphere act to upset any such balance between these two aspects of human nature. In fact, it is increasingly apparent that these divisive forces threaten to destroy the delicate fabric that has been slowly developed and disseminated over long periods in the traditions that underlie our present complex society. We now recognize that myths are important vehicles in the building of civilization.
At this point we ask you, the reader, to consider your approach to this material. Will it become just one more “external” influence that demands attention? Or can you find something more profound because of it? We ask you to pause and consider whether the most important thing for each of us is the individual self, not the contents of a book or the study of a myth. We do not intend to invoke any psychological or philosophical subtlety; rather, we point out a simple fact that can make a significant difference to the point of view in any study. When I, the reader, place my attention “inside” myself, an awareness of my existence arises. Through focusing on this one deliberate act, the reader can come to appreciate that awareness of the existence of being is essential .
When successful in placing attention inside, it can be seen in the background of my attitudes, interests, and activities there exists an observing “I” that enables a certain objectivity. This objectivity allows an inner awareness, a bridge between oneself and others. Although others seem very separate and have diverse interests that are not related to oneself, it can be seen that they must operate from this same basic awareness.
This “I” of awareness can be actively present as these paragraphs are read. This awareness can give rise to an interestingly comprehensive perception of what is being said and of the extent of agreement with it. Any paragraph, indeed the whole book, can be read without any of this awareness. The book may simply be another object of passing interest in what is a personal external world. It may also become so interesting and absorbing that all inner sense of self is lost in reading. One might even catch oneself saying, “I am not paying enough attention because I see the gradual contraction in my perceptual field to the pages at which I am gazing. While I may know that my awareness broadens as I actively strive to broaden attention, I all too often relapse into a habitual mode of reading, which is a kind of sleep. But every now and again, I can see that there exists in an inner world a sense of “I” that is central to me, but is different and generally separate from an exterior reality—an outer world—with which I am more familiar and to which I am more accustomed.”