Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mis-Translation And Mis-Interpretation
(Of Ancient Texts And Symbols)

Words have different meanings to different people. For example:
if I say "cat", I may be thinking about a calico colored cat while
you may be thinking of a gray cat. I may picture my cat sleeping
while you may picture yours sitting with its tail wrapped around
itself. My cat may be indoors while your cat may be outdoors, etc.,
etc., etc. And although we both have a very good idea of what a
"cat" physically looks like, we mentally picture this same "cat"
with an entirely different essence.

In addition to essence, the meanings of Words, along with the way
that they are used in phrases, cliches, and metaphors, can change
over relatively short periods of Time.

Furthermore, the same "word" can have an entirely different
meaning, or representation, from one language to another.

All of the above conditions are what make inter-personal,
inter-cultural, and inter-national communication so difficult.
And these conditions merely pertain to the way we use modern
words among different individuals, cultures, and societies.

Now imagine the extreme difficulty we face when we attempt to
Interpret and Translate Ancient Texts and Symbols which are
thousands of years old. In effect, we are trying to Interpret and
Translate Ancient Thought, Concepts, and Ideas, by using the
condensed definitions which modern words provide.

Parables, mythologies, and legends are designed to teach Lessons
through the use of stories, which are easier to remember than
"lectures". This practice originated in the most remote Ages of the
distant Past and continues even today within the various cultures
throughout our planet. Even today we use "fairy-tales" to entertain,
entrance, and Teach, young children.

Symbols, which come to us from the earliest Mists of Antiquity,
are the most remote and distant forms of written communication.
They are the physical representations, passed down to us from
unremembered yesterdays, of Ancient concepts, ideas, and ideals.
They represent the Sacred and Esoteric Words, experiences, and
Lessons of our long-forgotten Elders.

Whenever a Word, Text, or Symbol is translated from one language,
culture, or Time, to another, it automatically loses a portion of its
original and True essence.

When we take all of these factors into consideration, it is easy to
understand why it is so difficult, and sometimes even impossible,
to correctly Translate, Interpret, and Understand the writings and
Symbols which have been handed down to us from very Ancient

Furthermore, it is very important to also keep in mind that Ancient
Symbols present us with some very unique issues. This is due to
the fact that Symbols do not represent Words or letters. Symbols
represent concepts, ideas, and Thoughts. In other words, Symbols
represent Esoteric Essences which cannot be simply translated
away by using a two- or three-word definition; or by simply
attaching an alphabetical letter to them.

In addition: Symbols, like Words, can also change their meanings
in short periods of Time.

For example: A Circle with a diagonal line drawn through it may
have, in the distant Past, represented Duality within Unity: as
does the yin-yang Symbol which so many of us are familiar with.
However, today this same Symbol is used to represent: "stop",
"no", and "do not".

Words, phrases, and Symbols have changed meanings throughout
the Ages. And today we use many current, and inappropriate,
Words and phrases in our attempt to define, explain, and try to
understand, Ancient concepts and Lessons. This is the major cause
of confusion in many futile attempts to Translate and Interpret
Ancient Wisdom into modern Thought.

The meanings of Ancient Symbols and Texts can only be properly
Translated and Interpreted by understanding the language,
meanings, Thoughts, and Beliefs of those long-ago Times when
they were first put down in writing. And until we can train our
mind and Spirit to understand the True conditions of these
Ancient Times, we will continue to experience Mis-Translations
and Mis-Interpretations of Ancient Texts and Symbols.

Comments and Emails: I welcome comments and emails from
people with similar thoughts and feelings. My email address is
located in the upper-left area of this page. Comments can be
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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2011
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