The Secret Language of Symbols
Hi, this is Guillaume Wolf “Prof. G,” author of the newly released supernatural thriller, The Last Arakad. Before we start, I want to thank aobibliosphere™ for inviting me to guest blog; it’s a pleasure to be here.
I’d like to invite you to imagine your day. Let’s say you drive to work. What do you see all around you in the city? You turn on your computer; what’s all over the internet? Finally, you’re back home in the evening. In the kitchen, you grab food and prepare a plate, then you move to the couch to watch TV. What are you surrounded by? What are these things that constantly try to influence you without saying a word?
In our consumer society, symbols are called “logos” and they are part of the tools of advertising and branding. For better or (possibly) for worse; we’re surrounded by millions of these commercial symbols. These symbols all share the same agenda: “buy more of me,” they say. But that’s not all, symbols are also capable, by association, of creating emotional changes within ourselves.
Let’s say you decide to sign up for a gym membership. You put on a new pair of Nike shoes and the swoosh logo will immediately tell your subconscious mind to “Just do it.” The Nike symbol is designed to inspire your inner athlete to rise up.
But manipulating symbols is a tricky business as they can create different reactions in different people. Think about the McDonald’s logo (called ‘the Golden Arches’). For the fast-food lover, it evokes delicious tastes and good times. For the strict dieter, it can possibly generates negative feelings (despite the fact that the brand actually serves fresh salads).
Influential graphic novel author Alan Moore (creator of The Watchmen) connects the use of symbols with magic. He remarks: “Art, like magic, is the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images to achieve changes in consciousness.” But he insists, “Artists have accepted the prevailing belief that art, that writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being, that can change a society.”
As an author, and a teacher of communication design (the art of branding and logo design), I’ve given a lot of thought to this quote. I really believe artists are responsible for the impact they leave on the world. I remember, for example, being contacted a few years ago by a tobacco company who wanted me to help them create a new brand of cigarettes targeting the youth. I passed. I would never want to be a part of anything like this. But this is just one step. Can symbols be beneficial? Can they, as Moore claims, “change a human being”?
I’ve spent decades studying symbols trying the solve this riddle. This is a fascinating domain because symbols operate on a level of communication that bypasses the rational mind. They can, in the case of spiritual or religious symbols, elevate the soul—or they can inspire the worst in the heart of humanity—like the Nazi swastika (a misappropriated symbol originating from the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India).
Symbols have their own life, their own mode of expression and language. They’re at the heart of every civilization; and as humans, we love to be associated with them because they help us make sense of the world. They infuse us with energy.
|The Last Arakad|
The novel is a supernatural thriller (with a villain you’ll love to hate), but it’s also a story about moving beyond your fear and claiming your own power. Now the question is, how does the Arakad symbol connects with the reader’s experience? Well . . . I invite you to read the story to find out for yourself : )
Guillaume Wolf "Prof. G" is the author of the supernatural thriller, The Last Arakad (http://arakad.com), and reDESIGN: reCREATE (http://redesignrecreate.com), a book on reinvention and creativity.
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i would like to say thank you to author Guillaume Wolf for guest posting today and to you as well for stopping by.