Hey there all my FreeTraders,
Something that’s really interested me lately is the study of semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and meaning. Signs take up all shapes and sizes. Stop signs, emojis, memes, accepted cultural terminology. Have you ever thought about why a sign holds meaning? The word chair, the written word chair, is a symbol for an object. If you think of a chair you may imagine something like a dining chair, another person may imagine an overstuffed armchair. One symbol can hold a duality of meanings.
It would be so easy to just say that signs are culturally accepted, based off of location. But what about universal signs? Psychologically there are certain things out brains identify with. Certain colors which emit certain signals. Red means stop, green means go. Although a certain amount of this comes down to conditioning, is there an element of nature to it? We all know that certain symbols hold power. There’s no denying that. I’m interested at understanding the source.
Let’s take a look at this chart of symbols, and their progression over time from symbols found in cave art through to cuneiform.
These images aren’t only based locally, in small clusters, they’re found spread over large areas. Groups which were geographically distant were utilizing the same series of symbols. So you’re sitting there and you think to yourself, yeah, sure, they saw a duck so they drew a duck. But it’s not that simple. Who decided one day that they were going to pick up a stick, and create a graphic representation of a thing, in order to communicate its existence with another human?
These are the big questions we need to get at people. If you’re interested in learning more about semiotics and meaning, check out the work of Charles Morris.
Until next time.