March 15, 2007

Reification


A little game: What do this painting by René Magritte and the word, reification, have in common?

(Wiki: Reification n., to treat that which is abstract as something tangible; the error which consists in treating as a "thing" something which is not one... i.e. the thingification of social relations.)

Meredith: The picture above is a rendering of something, a concept that we recognize in the material form as a 'pipe', but it is not a pipe.

Aki: Right. I think of God, treating God as a thing, hijacking the unknowable into a thing that can be manipulated. Confusing the word God for God, confusing the symbol for the essence. (Is the opposite deification?)

3 comments:

Jon said...

Reification. What a useful word. I've been writing about it for a long time, but never knew there was a single word for it! Thanks, Meredith.

I'm also delighted that you too, illustrated it with Magritte's wonderful painting. I used it on my page "It's not about belief"

Meredith said...

Thank you Jon for the link to your page. I enjoyed your article about belief vs. trust.

So often, all around us, we see what seems to be the turning of the concept into the material. It's helpful, I think, to bring conscious awareness to this tendency. We all can get lost in form from time to time.

Irving said...

Ah, humans think in patterns, a recurring problem in experiencing the ineffable. But this was a lovely way to put it :)

Peace and Blessings!