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Ariadne's Clue A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind

ISBN-10: 0691086613
ISBN-13: 9780691086613
Edition: 1999
Authors: Anthony Stevens
List price: $57.50 Buy it from $25.51
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Description: Symbolism is the most powerful and ancient means of communication available to humankind. For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of  More...

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Book details

List price: $57.50
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 4/22/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.430
Language: English

Symbolism is the most powerful and ancient means of communication available to humankind. For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of symbols has long been debated among philosophers, antiquarians, theologians, and, more recently, anthropologists and psychologists. InAriadne's Clue,distinguished analyst and psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explores the nature of symbols and explains how and why we create the symbols we do. The book is divided into two parts: an interpretive section that concerns symbols in general and a "dictionary" that lists hundreds of symbols and explains their origins, their resemblances to other symbols, and the belief systems behind them. In the first section, Stevens takes the ideas of C. G. Jung a stage further, asserting not only that we possess an innate symbol-forming propensity that exists as a creative and integral part of our psychic make-up, but also that the human mind evolved this capacity as a result of selection pressures encountered by our species in the course of its evolutionary history. Stevens argues that symbol formation has an adaptive function: it promotes our grasp on reality and in dreams often corrects deficient modes of psychological functioning. In the second section, Stevens examines symbols under four headings: "The Physical Environment," "Culture and Psyche," "People, Animals, and Plants," and "The Body." Many of the symbols are illustrated in the book's rich variety of woodcuts. From the ancient symbol of the serpent to the archetypal masculine and feminine, from the earth to the stars, from the primordial landscape of the savannah to the mysterious depths of the sea, Stevens traces a host of common symbols back through time to reveal their psychodynamic functioning and looks at their deep-rooted effects on the lives of modern men, women, and children.

Acknowledgements
About This Book
Symbolism, Evolution, and Psychology
Ariadne's Clue
What is a Symbol?
The Evolution of Meaning
How Do Symbols Work?
Basic Symbolic Themes
The Conjunction of Heaven and Earth
Living the Symbolic Life
The Explanatory Thesaurus
The Physical Environment
Landscape
The Psychic Compass
The Four Elements
Alchemy
Celestial Bodies
Colours
Buildings
Migration
Culture and Psyche
Religion and the Sacred
Gods, Goddesses, and Demons
Creation Myths
Paradise and the Fall
Heroes and Heroines
Initiation, Male and Female
Eros and Psyche
Individuation and Transcendence
Death and Rebirth
Morality
Sickness and Healing
Tools, Weapons, Utensils, and Musical Instruments
Transport
Performance and Ritual
People, Animals, and Plants
Sex, Gender, Bonding, and Child-rearing
Power: Dominance and Submission
Animals
Monsters and Fabulous Beasts
Plants, Fruits, and Trees
The Body
Adornment, Clothes, and Nudity
Parts of the Body
Physical Activities
Bibliography
Glossary
General Index
Symbol Index

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