Symbols and Meanings

Prelude to Part 2 of 2:

Before I can talk about how language as an art form can be used to better understand science, I think it is important to talk about how words derive meaning.

The experiences and exposure we have in our childhood years build up an intricate interlocked set of beliefs as to what exists ‘out there’. In turn, our perceptions about the world re-enforce and create our reality of the world.

Our categorization maybe be a vast simplifications of the patterns around us, but these well chosen categories are efficient in helping us to anticipate the behavior of the world. Many consider the linguistic issue of semantics to be of little importance, Hofstadter and I disagree. Semantics involve deciding what verbal label to apply to something never seen before, but since category assignments go right to the core of thinking, they are determinant of our attitude toward each thing in the world, including such matters as life and death.*

Using the properties of language, after learning a new meaning for a word, we then create new connections based on the information just gathered. Our command for language is not like a finished product; the rules increase when we learn new meanings. In a sense, meanings activate symbols. And a symbols identity lies in its way of being connected to other symbols; and the network by which symbols can be potentially triggered is the brains working model of the universe.

Simply put: language creates a universal playbook through which we categorize and understand the world. The common factor is how we can communicate vastly abstract concepts; the difference in culture leads to the difference in subjective symbol representations.

—To be Continued —

My inspiration to synthesis this piece came from Douglas Hofstadter’s Books: Godel, Escher, Bach & I Am a Strange Loop and my own personal strange loop 😉

*Quote from his book

One thought on “Symbols and Meanings

  1. Pingback: Why? – VoraXious

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