Mireia Lozano

Walking across the quad, late at night, the cold got into my eyes.

 

My eyes

look beyond the trees

and see the wind.

 

Utsusemi

 

 

Is man a homo symbolicus? If so, have we always been symbolicus? Kitagawa puts into question Eliade’s argument that any human activity is necessarily symbolic. He posits that the Japanese understanding of the “primeval totality” (Kitagawa, 45) provided a paradigm that did not make symbols a necessity. Instead, the centrality of mujo and the ethnocentric view of the world, which developed in the Japanese archipelago, encouraged an immediate experience of reality. As Kitagawa argues early Japanese culture did not think in terms of representation, but of participation. In experiencing the world as symbolic, one has to connect perception and conception. One is reminded of himself as subject when perceiving the world. And when one is occupied in symbolically conceptualizing when perceiving, then one not only becomes a subject, but also becomes alienated.

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