Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose

By Kenneth Burke | Go to book overview
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know how to read the characters there ? The stigma will not, of course, be of the literal sort described by the ancient martyrologists, who felt that a piety profound enough could actually reproduce a pious image upon the heart—the connectives would be remote, like the relationship between emotionality and glandular change, but they would be there nonetheless, in the physical parallelisms of the mind.


A Historical Parallel

THROUGHOUT this section we have frequently shown much respect for the "errors" of past systems. Even the extreme mystic is unquestionably talking about something, though one may disagree with his ways of interpreting and verbalizing the signs which he has seen. Hallucination itself is real in the sense that actual physical events must occur for the hallucination to arise. And we have been deliberately indiscriminate in scrambling magical, religious, poetic, theological, philosophical, mystic, and scientific lore. Insofar as the individual mind is a group product, one may look for the same patterns of relationship between the one and the many in any historical period—and however much we may question the terminology in which these patterns were expressed, the fact that man's neurological structure has remained pretty much of a constant through all the shifts of his environment would justify us in looking for permanencies beneath the


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