Thursday, June 7, 2012

Symbolic Language

"From a psychoanalytic perspective a symbol has been defined as an act or object that represents an unconscious desire which has been repressed or automatically forgotten without ever having become conscious to the observer.  Symbols are inherently linked to deep spontaneous unconscious psychological processes.  In contrast, signs are linked to largely conscious processes in which the observer consciously and arbitrarily allows one thing to stand for another.  for example, in the case of a sign, ten different observers may use ten different signs to represent the same item.  In the case of a symbol, different observers may use the same symbol to represent a wide variety of different classes of objects because it somehow spontaneously occured to them to use the same symbol."

From The Symbolism of the Crown in Ancient Egypt, by Richard D. King
Journal of African Civilizations, November 1984 (vol. 6, no. 2)


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