I ran across this the other day, and although I would not say that I adhere to everything he says, much of it has the ring of truth. I have included the summary points below, but I would recommend reading the entire article.

How we confuse symbols and things

  • We seek “marriage” as though that quasi-legal institution were the same thing as a worthwhile human relationship.
  • We seek “education” as though knowledge could be injected into us like a vaccine without any investment on our part. Failing at this, we then trust the statements of people who possess white, rectangular sporting event trophies called “diplomas.”
  • We seek “religion” as though any worthwhile answers to fundamental spiritual questions could be delivered in encapsulated form, outside the direct experience of nature.
  • We trust the findings of “science” as though science’s principal value could be meaningfully delivered to people who don’t understand science (it cannot).
  • We trust the wisdom of “government” as though, without direct participation by all of us, government could be anything but a dumping ground for aging juvenile delinquents.

What do you think?

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Hey, I run the place.

One thought on “Symbolism”

  1. Recalling some art theory lectures from my diploma-getting days, symbolism is the short-hand used to cause a persuasive emotional response in the place of a lengthy factual argument.

    Another way to look at it is that symbolism is the profanity of the experts. We expect others to know what we mean via the use of symbols associated with our particular expertise and we don’t want to take time to think or about or explain what we mean, hence our convictions are often better explained with four letter words.

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