The word Symbol derives from the Greek symbolon, meaning “token, watchword” from syn “together” and bállo “I throw, put.” The sense evolution in Greek is from “throwing things together” to “contrasting” to “comparing” to “token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine.” Hence, “outward sign” of something. The meaning “something which stands for something else” was first recorded in 1590, in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene. Symbols are a means of complex communication that often can have multiple levels of meaning. Symbols are the basis of all human understanding and serve as vehicles of conception for all human knowledge. Symbols facilitate understanding of the world in which we live, thus serving as the grounds upon which we make judgments. In this way, people use symbols not only to make sense of the world around them, but also to identify and cooperate in society through constitutive rhetoric. Human cultures use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their specific culture.
Thus, Symbols carry meanings that depend upon one’s cultural background; in other words, the meaning of a symbol is not inherent in the symbol itself but is culturally learned. Like written language, symbols carry with them meaning that allows us to communicate with each other. But unlike language, many ancient symbols also contain something more. A deep meaning that lies in the base of our subconscious. Carl Jung called those symbols Archetypes as archaic images or universal thought-forms that influence the feelings and action of an individual. He proposed that these images, patterns or prototypes for ideas are derived from the universal or collective unconscious. A symbol… is a visual image or sign representing an idea, a deeper indicator of an universal truth…
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