What are new symbols?

Symbols make complex content easier to communicate. Many are deeply rooted in the collective psyche as a result of cultural conditioning; additionally, we are constantly creating new symbols. They are a means of communicating directly, speaking to us on a level beyond conscious awareness. This form of communication has a massive impact on group dynamics, f.e. when nations go to war they rely on symbols to hold the community together; religious groups, corporations, communities and organizations; all are held together by symbols.

Symbols are activated through identification. The stronger the identification, the stronger the reaction to the symbol’s content will be. For instance, a patriotic person will identify strongly with the abstract content symbolized by his/her country’s flag; if someone else burns that flag, the patriot will feel as if he himself is under attack. The capacity of symbols to provoke such strong, emotional reactions in people makes them a natural instrument of mass persuasion.

This brings to mind the Jungian concept of amplification: the search for resonances and meanings.

Symbols: you might need an aspirin

Warning! Studying symbols might make your head spin.