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Everything is a symbol

 
 
JPhil
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 09:28 pm
After thinking about the argument about "everything has form" I came upon a realization that also everything is a symbol as well. What I mean is that what we see and experience is a symbol of something greater, to help us describe this thing that is greater. Think of it as a concept in math, math is an organized science that uses symbols to help us understand the real world. 1+1 is the collection of symbols of knowing how to join to like things together and having twice of that thing. It's the same way with the world, or life for that matter, that every existing thing is to help understand something greater than what we experience. Just like 1+1 seems like nothing on paper but until applied to the world it is useful. Maybe it is the same with our universe or lives that existing things are meant to describe something else, when put together and analyzed helps us understand that greater thing, whatever it is.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 6,893 • Replies: 25

 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 09:32 pm
@JPhil,
JPhil;169397 wrote:
After thinking about the argument about "everything has form" I came upon a realization that also everything is a symbol as well. What I mean is that what we see and experience is a symbol of something greater, to help us describe this thing that is greater. Think of it as a concept in math, math is an organized science that uses symbols to help us understand the real world. 1+1 is the collection of symbols of knowing how to join to like things together and having twice of that thing. It's the same way with the world, or life for that matter, that every existing thing is to help understand something greater than what we experience. Just like 1+1 seems like nothing on paper but until applied to the world it is useful. Maybe it is the same with our universe or lives that existing things are meant to describe something else, when put together and analyzed helps us understand that greater thing, whatever it is.


I like this. I will definitely at least agree that everything is potentially a symbol, a metaphor, etc. And I will also say that much of our thought is metaphorical. But these metaphors ossify and become literal. An etymological dictionary supports this assertion. We use an old word in a new way until only the new way of using it is understood.

Let's look at the history of the word "symbol."
Quote:

symbol http://www.etymonline.com/graphics/dictionary.gifc.1434, "creed, summary, religious belief," from L.L. symbolum "creed, token, mark," from Gk. symbolon "token, watchword" (applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles' Creed, on the notion of the "mark" that distinguishes Christians from pagans), lit. "that which is thrown or cast together," from syn- "together" + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nom. stem of ballein "to throw" (see ballistics). The sense evolution in Gk. is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." Hence, "outward sign" of something. The meaning "something which stands for something else" first recorded 1590 (in "Faerie Queene"). Symbolic is attested from 1680.
0 Replies
 
Jack Tripper
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 02:12 am
@JPhil,
JPhil;169397 wrote:
After thinking about the argument about "everything has form" I came upon a realization that also everything is a symbol as well. What I mean is that what we see and experience is a symbol of something greater, to help us describe this thing that is greater. Think of it as a concept in math, math is an organized science that uses symbols to help us understand the real world. 1+1 is the collection of symbols of knowing how to join to like things together and having twice of that thing. It's the same way with the world, or life for that matter, that every existing thing is to help understand something greater than what we experience. Just like 1+1 seems like nothing on paper but until applied to the world it is useful. Maybe it is the same with our universe or lives that existing things are meant to describe something else, when put together and analyzed helps us understand that greater thing, whatever it is.


What though would be the laws to govern these symbols? Math of course has it's own laws and principles and no matter who calculates 1+1 the answer will always be 2. The everyday symbols we see and interact with however are open to perception.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 03:05 am
@Jack Tripper,
Jack Tripper;171643 wrote:
What though would be the laws to govern these symbols? Math of course has it's own laws and principles and no matter who calculates 1+1 the answer will always be 2. The everyday symbols we see and interact with however are open to perception.


And what symbols will we use to write down these laws? And what will be the law of those symbols?Smile
Jack Tripper
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 04:32 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;171652 wrote:
And what symbols will we use to write down these laws? And what will be the law of those symbols?Smile


True, all languages and principles are already depicted/expressed by symbols, but that's my point. We have a "key" as it were to decode and understand these, what then would become the key if everything previously uncategorized and understood as a symbol was now recognized as a symbol. What would their standardized value be and how would they interact with other symbols?

Basically what I'm trying to say is that, yes everything can be viewed as a symbol, but as far as using those symbols to come up with a high answer or meaning is highly perceptive.
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 07:25 am
@JPhil,
As soon as one says "everything is....." one is speaking metaphorically. It seems that to propose a universal predication can only be done by ignoring---for a purpose---all the minor and major distinctions and differences existing between occasions (to use a neutral word).

Isn't it the case that very often the "what" everything is becomes extremely vague or that one finds oneself forcing occasions to fit into it by proposing a very large set of sub-definitions that brings one full circle back to the differences of the occasions?
0 Replies
 
fast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 07:34 am
@JPhil,


To say you realized it is to say it's true that ..., but it's not true that ..., so you didn't realize it. That would be like saying you then knew something to be true that wasn't. You can believe you know and not know just as you can think you came upon a realization and not have come upon a realization.
0 Replies
 
JPhil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:01 am
@Jack Tripper,
Jack Tripper;171643 wrote:
What though would be the laws to govern these symbols? Math of course has it's own laws and principles and no matter who calculates 1+1 the answer will always be 2. The everyday symbols we see and interact with however are open to perception.

Well the laws would act like any other laws. What mean is that being human is a symbol of something else outside of this world, being an animal is a symbol of something else, water, paper, glass, air, anything and everything that we see to exist maybe a meaning of something greater than itself. For example: the number one is not just meant to only solve problems on paper or to only create a theorem but its meaning is really the set of one thing that exist in the world (or imaginary, but besides that). Therefore maybe being an animal, something that is able to manipulated, eaten, used, etc for the use of us humans, then its meaning outside the world could be that thing that can be used and manipulated for a purpose of its superior. Then maybe humans the things that take over lands and wishes to discover new things could mean outside the world that thing that conquers others. I know its a bit hard to explain, but how about this just as math is used to represent what's going on the world/universe, our existence/world/universe may also be used to represent something else.
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 07:48 am
@JPhil,
Is the argument then that there are symbols outside of the human perspective that have some sort of independent meaning or authority? And the same question might be posed about the "laws" generating the symbolic meaning, since it seems the term is being used in it's non-scientific sense. How does the concept of "symbol" differ from Platonic Forms and the criticism that Aristotle made about that idea?
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 08:01 am
@JPhil,
JPhil;169397 wrote:
After thinking about the argument about "everything has form" I came upon a realization that also everything is a symbol as well. What I mean is that what we see and experience is a symbol of something greater, to help us describe this thing that is greater. Think of it as a concept in math, math is an organized science that uses symbols to help us understand the real world. 1+1 is the collection of symbols of knowing how to join to like things together and having twice of that thing. It's the same way with the world, or life for that matter, that every existing thing is to help understand something greater than what we experience. Just like 1+1 seems like nothing on paper but until applied to the world it is useful. Maybe it is the same with our universe or lives that existing things are meant to describe something else, when put together and analyzed helps us understand that greater thing, whatever it is.



Where is the argument?
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 03:10 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
So my life is representational of something other than my life, synechdocal of something larger than my life that it is part of, indexical of something other than my life, or iconic of another form of my own life? I don't get where you are going with this. And who/what are the interlocutors of this symbolic meta-conversation?
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 10:35 pm
@JPhil,
Page 93 is interesting. This thread reminds me of Vico generally. Sensus communis: Vico, rhetoric, and ... - Google Books
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:03 am
@JPhil,
JPhil;169397 wrote:
After thinking about the argument about "everything has form" I came upon a realization that also everything is a symbol as well. What I mean is that what we see and experience is a symbol of something greater, to help us describe this thing that is greater. Think of it as a concept in math, math is an organized science that uses symbols to help us understand the real world. 1+1 is the collection of symbols of knowing how to join to like things together and having twice of that thing. It's the same way with the world, or life for that matter, that every existing thing is to help understand something greater than what we experience. Just like 1+1 seems like nothing on paper but until applied to the world it is useful. Maybe it is the same with our universe or lives that existing things are meant to describe something else, when put together and analyzed helps us understand that greater thing, whatever it is.
If you really think it's the case, you need to back up your statement with more substatial evidence, other than what you have presented, which I can't even remotely associate with your postulation.

I have been in the design industry, and it's immensly difficult to design symbols that has a clear representation for an action, an object ..or anything else, so I would say that you are indeed very wrong, and contradicts decades of common knowledge on the specific field.
0 Replies
 
JPhil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 07:25 pm
Ok, well, let's take an action. People who protest against something are doing an action that represents something they want. Like a baby crying representing something he wants. Now let's say we have the religious person living such a life that represents something of his religion. So what I'm asking are all our actions, which is life representing something higher? Do you think?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 03:51 pm
@jgweed,
JPhil, most if not all cultural anthropologists agree that mankind lives in a symbolic world. More precisely, he lives in a tripartite world: (1) in the physical reality that physicists and biologists study, (2) in the world of feelings and drives addressed by psychology, and (3) in the culturallly constituted meaningful world, shaped throughout the evolutionary process of man's social existence. This world of culturally constructed symbols is very much like the world structured in terms of Platonic forms. This world rests on an illusion of objectivity supported--as Fresco reminds us--by social consensus, little else. Of course Plato assumed that the world of meanings is the creation of a Godhead of some sort. Fresco, anthropology, Nieztzsche and I (to name a few) assume it's entirely the result of human acitivity.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 03:51 pm
@jgweed,
JPhil, most if not all cultural anthropologists agree that mankind lives in a symbolic world. More precisely, he lives in a tripartite world: (1) in the physical reality that physicists and biologists study, (2) in the world of feelings and drives addressed by psychology, and (3) in the culturallly constituted meaningful world, shaped throughout the evolutionary process of man's social existence. This world of culturally constructed symbols is very much like the world structured in terms of Platonic forms. This world rests on an illusion of objectivity supported--as Fresco reminds us--by social consensus, little else. Of course Plato assumed that the world of meanings is the creation of a Godhead of some sort. Fresco, anthropology, Nieztzsche and I (to name a few) assume it's entirely the result of human acitivity.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 03:51 pm
@jgweed,
JPhil, most if not all cultural anthropologists agree that mankind lives in a symbolic world. More precisely, he lives in a tripartite world: (1) in the physical reality that physicists and biologists study, (2) in the world of feelings and drives addressed by psychology, and (3) in the culturallly constituted meaningful world, shaped throughout the evolutionary process of man's social existence. This world of culturally constructed symbols is very much like the world structured in terms of Platonic forms. This world rests on an illusion of objectivity supported--as Fresco reminds us--by social consensus, little else. Of course Plato assumed that the world of meanings is the creation of a Godhead of some sort. Fresco, anthropology, Nieztzsche and I (to name a few) assume it's entirely the result of human acitivity.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 11:29 pm

but what is the essential or fundamental symbol to all things ?

once we find this we could perhaps grow our thoughts from there
JLNobody
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 09:12 am
@north,
If we were to select a "fundamental symbol" (to stand) for all things it would most likely be a great circle, having no beginning and no end.
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 01:39 pm
@JPhil,
It seems to me that this "higher than" and "greater than" are merely acknowledgements that "thingness" can encompass more than a single functionality. For example appleness could involve expectancies of "taste", "color" "roundness" etc, and not normally at the same time. BUT what you neglect is the fact that all those expectancies are indicative of different relational contexts between observer and observed. There is NO independent apple, there are mutual existential states involving appleness (type1 thru n)::observer (type1 thu n). So "things" are not "representational", they are potentially "evocational" of relationships.
 

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