The Evolution of Symbols in Human Behavior.
The following blog is a synopsis explaining how symbols influence human behaviour through the collective unconscious. As a result, we inherit the symbolic meaning of images from the earliest of times.
Symbols have existed since the beginning of time. They can be traced back to prehistoric civilisations that carved or drew symbols onto caves and wood to express their thoughts and feelings and to understand how they lived in the world. These symbols were assumed to represent their religious or spiritual beliefs. Such paintings likely have represented their connection to their inner and outer world and may have influenced how the human mind evolved.
Symbols can have a significant impact on the evolution of ideas. This concept can be applied to the creation story in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. In Genesis 1-3, various symbols such as the two trees, namely the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of wisdom, the rib God took from Adam when he fell Adam sleep to make women, and the serpent (which is described as a creature in Genesis 1 and 3) hold great symbolic importance. The meaning behind the serpent has been passed down for generations, affecting millions and their religious interpretations.
It has been widely documented, both verbally and in writing, that the symbols I mentioned earlier have been repeated throughout history. These symbols have made their way into our literature, mythology, folklore, religion, and spiritual practices and persist today. They have even been incorporated into various art forms, such as jewellery, tattoos, and paintings. Therefore, it is impossible to challenge their existence or significance.
With this in mind, we can safely say that symbols strongly influence our beliefs and actions. As the author of "Why We Make Bad Choices: The God's Labyrinth of Good and Evil Encountering the Self," I was unconsciously drawn to these symbols while writing the story. I delved into their meanings in great detail as they played a crucial role in the intricate blueprint that governs human behaviour, forming the book's foundation. The two trees above are well-known for representing both good and evil opposing forces. These symbols have endured through modern times and are believed to reside in our psyche, specifically in the collective unconscious - the oldest part of our psyche. This concept was initially introduced by Carl Jung, a prominent figure in early psychoanalysis who founded the school of thought known as depth psychology, also called analytical psychology.
Jung's theory of the collective unconscious explains how ancient symbols continue to influence our thoughts and actions today, making the battle between good and evil a universal archetype. Applying his theory, I assume this battle is an inherent human quality. As we observe the world around us, we can see that life is full of living energy through the concept of opposites, such as light and dark, day and night, above and below, spring and autumn, winter and summer, black and white, good and bad, right and left, north and south, introversion and extroversion, sky and sea, male and female, earth and heaven, and so on.
The book demonstrates that we possess both good and evil, and it's up to each individual to confront this reality and the moral compass within us to balance these opposing forces. The author, that’s me, emphasises that evil cannot simply be eliminated, as it is an inherent part of the universal law. Instead, we must achieve wholeness by constantly balancing these two opposing forces. The journey towards harmony is not about attaining perfection but rather a continuous effort to integrate both good and evil within ourselves. Striving for perfection may lead to further imbalance. Instead, it’s an inward journey, that is to say, limiting our dependency on external connections. This journey can be likened to the archetype of the Hero, who battles life's adversities and emerges victorious. Whatever challenges we face, it is essential to confront and challenge the dark side of ourselves rather than repressing or denying it. When we take responsibility, we minimise playing the victim, which comes in many negative guises, such as the mask of narcissism, the bully, and the abuser. For some, such masks are ingrained as their core self that they have lost entirely who they are. Ironically, those who appear strong and powerful may be playing the victim by projecting their pain onto others using one of the defence mechanisms projection.