We always knew some people think in pictures, and others in words, and now we learn some people (who are probably really smart) think in “unsymbolized thinking,” though the example they give: “Should I have the ham sandwich or the roast beef?” doesn’t quite bear out my assessment of their intelligence.
All of which is to say that I’m quite sick of Christmas, and so I’m going to write about syncretism, which I’ve tried a few times to explain in words (the way that I think, though I’m going to start trying some unsymbolized thinking today, beginning with lunch).
Today was the winter solstice for the Romans, and so they had a neat festival for the Unconquered Sun who, unlike Jesus, keeps on getting resurrected every morning. Then the calendar got fixed, the solstice moved, Constantine got religion, and the new Christians had to do something about this pagan festival that wasn’t even tied into the days getting longer anymore. So they moved Jesus’ birthday on top of Sol Invictus, and if you haven’t understood syncretism so far because you think in pictures, this is it.*
*It’s Christ’s head on Sol Invictus, in case you need words too.