, as William J
ames held, 'has always been the
real religion of the
common people', because it has always made sense
to the facts of experience a life of their own: Life's actions are
best informed by its actual occasions, and we meet these most
completely by allowing ourselves to see them as what we are most
fit to see - life
. Science has not extinguished our
toward 'polytheism', only misdirected it toward what L
'the idols of the laboratory'
, discrediting its immanence in
our own experience. The ballyhooed need in our time for 'new myths'
addresses these issues, but the need more properly is for
cultivating symbolic meanings for life's feelings as they belong to
the facts of experience.
Langer's work examples what is
most crucial in what
we have called 'amphibious' thinking: the ability to 'metabolize'
the instrumental and the exploratory representations employed by
the activities of diverse cultural developments, and weave them
into grounds of public meaning
. Moreover, purely temporal
kinds of thinking,
eidegger being an early example, can only take broader root
a public ground where they can come to seem plausible - and this
hinges on culture's awareness of how it relies on the terms of
symbolism's 'quantizations' of meaning.