are extremely potent devices – without them life cannot exist. Their
wise use enhances life. Their flawed use puts life at risk and can
A symbol is
something that represents something else by association, resemblance, of
A symbol is a shared crystallized quantum of meaning.
forms employ symbols at every level and in myriad ways. Every living
cell and body uses symbols to survive and propagate amidst the continual
change, which is the universe(s).
contained in any symbol is only an approximation or partial resemblance
of reality (the constant universal transformation) because all forms are
very transient amidst the universal flux.
The existence of
a life form is enhanced as its symbol use better reflects reality
because the organism is more able to retain vital meaning, develop
resilient structures and thrive.
The existence of
a life form is diminished as its symbol use fail to mirror reality
because vital meaning becomes corrupted, it develops increasingly
flawed structures and it dies.
This is true of
the DNA symbols of cells or the advertising symbols of corporations.
Information is physical. Symbols can take myriad forms using all the vibrations that organisms are sentient of. For instance, human beings can detect different vibrations with specialist organs such our eyes (light), ears (sound), nose (smell) and tongue (taste) while our bodies are generally sensitive to touch. Our sense of touch enables us to be aware of thermal, gravitational, kinetic and other forces.
How a particular symbol resonates in us depends on our experiences and all the millions of associated symbols within us that form our worldview.
For instance spoken or written use of the ‘greenhouse” symbol as in “greenhouse gas” may evoke an overwhelming sensation determined by our experience of a greenhouse.
We can only estimate how a symbol use resonates within
us or with our audience because our consciousness is but a trace element
of the human psyche. Thus our survival depends on continual
experimentation and evaluation of our use of symbols.
Note: All human communication involves the use of metaphors and is about the transfer of meaning. To dismiss, as some do, their use of a symbol as "just a metaphor" and "mere semantics" is to deny the power of symbols.
Page last updated: July 2010