Originally, the Greek word “Symbolon” (thrown together) denoted a victor’s wreath; a check (an identifying token compared with a counterpart to ensure both were genuine); the mark of a Christian, as distinguished from a heathen; or any object for comparison or corresponding with another, whether there was/was not anything in those objects to suggest the comparison. In 15th century England, “Symbol” implied things put together–elements or substances of similar qualities–for comparison/contrast. Initially, it referred to a baptismal creed, summary, or religious belief. A Symbol’s other ‘outward signs’ included: something standing for something else (1590); then a typical figure or sign; then a representative, in contrast to an Emblem (which resembles). European Symbols deal with “what it represents” as well as “how it appears.” However, since Europeans’ concern with the Metaphysical is only in the far back periphery of their vision, “what a Symbol is” when it comes into Being as well as its source are either omitted or hazily addressed. This makes opinions be about the entire Metaphysical Symbol’s orientation. The process is like only learning the bottom quarter of the alphabet and then expecting to know how to read, write, and understand “out-group” fellows. Still, Secular Symbols are defined as a representational object or visual image for a concept, object, event, idea, quality, or quantity–despite being limited to “Appearance Stand-In” roles which imply only certain aspects are done by what they represent. Thus, all aspects of Symbols enable humans to somehow share thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Words are the most common Symbols since, though lacking meaning in and of themselves, they stand for objects, ideas, and other aspects of humans’ experiences–but only when all agree on what the Symbol represents. All Symbols contain a message of a Thing able to bridge it to the receiving mind that is aware of what it is about, assuming that Receiver knows how to read the Symbol’s Sign. Ones name is the Symbol that stands for the thing named, which is called the Referent. One can then use that name to refer to something–“Titan’s food”; “Titan’s friendship”; “Titan’s relationship with me.”
Secular Symbols can be a material object whose shape or origin is related to the Thing it represents–but it depends upon the value one places on it. For example, Titan thinks his favorite religious Symbol is of divine origin by assuming it was revealed to some unknown past religious authorities. But skeptics tell him the sacredness of that Symbol has been invented. Chances are the reality of its significance origin is so far back and buried in the mystery of the past as to seemingly have no human source. Yet, Titan’s Religious Symbol is a “collective representation” emanating from someone(s) primeval dreams and creative fantasies. As such, the sacred image Titan has of his Religious Symbol presumably came from an involuntary spontaneous manifestation, as opposed to an intentional invention. This is not to say that the “collective representation” was or was not revealed by God. In another example, the Cross, the main Symbol of Christianity, expresses a multitude of aspects, ideas, and emotions. Yet, a cross after a name on a list simply indicates the individual is dead. Hence, people respond daily to Symbols both consciously and unconsciously.
The discipline of Semiotics studies Symbols and Symbol Systems in general. Symbolism is the technique of representing things by Symbols, as created or used by a Symbolist. But if the Symbolist does not first remove problems of vagueness, ambiguity, and inappropriate Figures of Speech before Symbolization occurs, these flaws are locked into place without the possibility of them being detected as questionable elements in the system. Those flaws can then lead one far off the Spiritual Elements Track. The Symbolic is a form of thinking and writing of an essence philosophy whose laws one must know. This expands into the field of Symbolic Logic whereby, although the Symbols are not facts, they can be related in highly intricate and consistent ways. Reasoning can then proceed in an orderly and rigorous manner. Mathematics, because of its orderliness and practicability in the benefits derived from its system of arbitrary and abstract Symbols, is a display of Beauty. The same principle applies to being disciplined in order to be mentally free, which does not occur from the chaos of impulsiveness. An ordered life of “Lifting while Climbing” is a beautiful life. jabaileymd.com