The God Apollo and symbolism

How do people rationalise a myth with the physical evidence before their eyes? The fact that there is no resemblance between the sun and chariot? How do you get from a globe to a chariot? What leap of imagination is that? Does this show a fundamental disconnect between Latin belief and the world? Gods not as physically present in the world as they are described, but as a manifestation of phenomena – two versions. You have the physical phenomena and then there is the mythical explanation for such phenomena, essentially an invisible world with little direct relation. We say ‘Apollo rides across the sky in a flaming chariot’ without ever trying to explain the physical phenomena – or is it just that this is sufficient? With sign and symbol in the 18th century and later there is an understanding that an idea is almost mirrored in reality? It’s not a great leap from one to the other. I’m thinking about allegory.

At some point it departs from what we see, takes on a parallel life of its own. Things happen, we explain them, we allegorise them, and the allegories have their own internal mechanisms, their own realities, which do not coincide with the reasons for which they were chosen in the first place and that cause them to drift away from the original source. They become metaphors, neither visually nor theoretically consistent or congruent.

Originally drafted: 2007/08/27

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