Symbol and the Symbolic: Ancient Egypt, Science, and the Evolution of Consciousness by R A Schwaller de Lubicz, from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz spent fifteen years studying the art and architecture of the Temple of Luxor. In Symbol and the Symbolic, he explains that true progress in human thought can be made only if we call upon the ‘symbolizing’ faculty of intelligence, the faculty developed and refined in the Temple Culture of ancient Egypt and reflected in the hieroglyphs that have come down to us undisturbed. The mentality of ancient Egypt, argues the author, helps free us from our present intellectual impasse, while ‘symbolism’ must be recognized as the intuitive means of overcoming the limitations of reason.
Schwaller de Lubicz contrasts two opposing views: the analytic, mechanistic mentality of modern science and the synthetic, vitalist mentality of ancient Egyptian Sacred Science. He posits that only a symbolic mentality, like that cultivated in the Egyptian Temple, can think without objectifying and therefore can synthetically conceive the paradoxes inherent in the intimate life of matter, or nature in its ongoing genesis. Modern science has evolved to a new opening of consciousness confronted with paradoxes that reason alone cannot contend with. It will have to rise to a symbolic mode in order to integrate the complements in vital phenomena. Schwaller de Lubicz observes that in the past, fundamental and all-encompassing revolutions in the social, moral, and intellectual conditions of human life have coincided with the precession of the equinox. We are again in such a transition. If man does not destroy himself through premature application of principles belonging to a stage of consciousness that he has not yet fully attained—that is, through the manipulation of matter—modern science will be able to evolve into an analogue of Egyptian science. It will no longer seek knowledge through analysis but, with the expansion of consciousness, will evolve toward ‘direct synthetic vision.'” — back cover