Symbols; More Real Than Actual Signs

Why should you trust symbols more than signs?

Google’s Ngram service shows that in a good time span of more than 2 centuries, the name Arthur Schopenhauer has been explosively used lately — after 80's — and his novel work, The World as Will and Representation, gaining the attention of those whom it concerns. (with more than 4k citation in its English translation)

“The” idea may be clear. The name says it all. It’s a book that could be judged by its cover. “The World as Will and Representation ”, is a world that you as a subject form, not the one in which the nature objectifies:

“Therefore the man of genius requires imagination, in order to see in things not what nature has actually formed, but what she endeavoured to form, yet did not bring about, because of the conflict of her forms with one another” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Taking this line of philosophy to the attention it is gaining right now in our modern world, it comes to the minds that may the world and life surrounding us is more about meaning that it’s about observation.
Let us take the sun as an example. If it was only what we see, here as human beings with a 150 million KM distance from it, and not all the efforts to dismantle the barriers of seeing through it; how could we ever manage to find out the facts about it (e.g its temperature or its magnetic fields and…).

This philosophy (nominally “German Idealism”) indicates that even the everyday life we are experiencing right now — with all the real objects — , is all about the meaning that every human being is [re]producing. When it comes to the language as both a communication tool and an object and meaning producer machine (Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations) metaphoric mechanisms of a world or even a complex linguistic situation would get a great deal of priority.

In the latter case, signs, and symbols are the major tool kits for the incarnation of the meaning of out of reach objective phenomena. From now on, we took “The real thing” for this notion of the “out of reach objective phenomena”.

Throughout the perception of a matter, you may call or recall it by its name, or its sign or its symbol. Putting aside the clarity of the pioneer, the last two would always come with a distance from the real thing.

A Sign could always deceive

Jean Baudrillard, has told us a very interesting story about signs. Signs would appear as an ongoing, immediate phenomenon of the real thing. For an instance, the smoke over a fire is a sign of the fire and it’s only the logical result of the fire. There could be no other consequences when you lit a fire. There should be a cloud of smoke and there is one! So it’s obvious that between a sign and the real thing should not be phenomenological distances. As a result of such, the sign could be another “real thing” itself according to the main event of under percept. ‌Baudrillard brought this idea to the conversation where you could emphasize on any sign, in a more ferocious way so that it could become a overshadow on the main event. Having enough power, especially a media-centered power, could make the sign of the real thing even more REAL. We can roughly call it the “hyper-reality”. A notion in which could always fail us to attend the main reasons or things or phenomena and etc…

The problematic here is though, the real feel of signs as a result of the above descriptions. It could easily direct us away from “the real” thing. Because sometimes it feels so real itself that there happens cognitive error. A signal can always come seductive!

Let's be distinctive; let's distinguish

Bourdieu, in an unwritten race (may it be), came up with the symbolic mechanisms in the language of meanings! (Bourdieu’s Language & Symbolic Power) When something is in symbolic relation to something else, It usually has no direct connection with the real thing. They usually are injected meanings that are somehow attached to the real thing. This natural distance between the symbols and the real object (take fire or orange (color) as a symbol of the SUN where they are not actually relative phenomena) is where the main idea comes from. This natural difference of the essences would always provide a vast potential to impose almost anything into something else. There it could give you a dynamic force to do more limitlessly. The only thing you need is to recognize the abstraction of the acts, objects, situations so no so far.

But why is it a better way of couping with reality when there is almost no realty in common? With all the irony, that is exactly why. In the relation between a sign and signifier, the natural reality in common between the two phenomena is the reason for misunderstandings. While In the world of symbolic relations, you always have something to crawl back to. Whatever is in reach could be enriched with your meanings! But simultaneously the epistemic break between the real thing and the symbol will always let you have a sharp mind on the real thing…




A mindless spot of an eternal sociologist!

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Tahamtan boroumand

Tahamtan boroumand

A mindless spot of an eternal sociologist!

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