Friday, January 21, 2011

Shadows - a FEW analogies.

What is a shadow and what function does it perform?  Many things have been compared to a shadow and I'm sure there are many analogies and applications of particular "shadows".  What I'm referring to here might be more specific to certain things only.  We can only carry analogies so far!

If you see a shadow, you usually assume there is an object casting the shadow.

We hardly ever assume that the reality, the physical object casting the shadow, doesn't exist, even if we cannot see it, it being just out of sight.  Thus, we do often see shadows and not the object casting the shadow.   But we usually know from experience that the object is there casting the shadow, and we can usually tell by the shape and nature of the shadow, a fair amount of what the properties of the object are, although obviously, we cannot understand and know everything, or even, very much, from the shadow only.  We might even be frightened of and intimidated by the shadow.

In hindsight - looking back at the shadow - we go, "A-ha - so that's what it was trying to tell us!  Now I understand more clearly!"

When you finally look at and see/find the actual object, you see more detail, and so in fact, understand the shadow much better.  When you do look at the physical object, does the shadow then disappear?  No, if the shadow disappears, then probably the object itself has also been moved away.  They exist together, but the reality reveals MORE to the beholder than the shadow.  There is no more reason to look at and study only the shadow in order to understand the object, because the object reveals so much more about itself, and thus the shadow becomes less necessary.  However, an important point is that the shadow is STILL there and can STILL describe, however weakly, the reality. Of course, it is much better to study the reality - but the reality won't have a different nature to the shadow, or be totally different in character, ie: this aloe shadow won't be coming from a horse, or a house.

So, if an EVENT is "fore-shadowed", the event itself explains the shadow but that doesn't change the shadow, nor "does away with" it. In fact, the event itself would not be fundamentally different to the shadow since it caused the shadow to begin with.

If something is "fore-shadowed", then the reality cannot presume to change the shadow, or that shadow would not have truly been a "fore"-shadow of that event. When the reality came, it did not take away the existence of the shadow either, or make it change, but explained it more fully and became a more complete and perfect revelation of itself.  Looking at and studying the shadow is a way to understand history from the perspective of the past, and certainly is a good way to  gain MORE understanding of the reality now.  The shadow gains meaning by the coming of the reality.

We must also be careful not to call certain things shadows, when they are, in fact, not shadows, but symbols.  We'll have to get into symbols/signs in another blog.

I think we can learn a lot by recognizing and understanding shadows. 

Happy Sabbath (I learned how to "sign" that in ASL this week!)

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