Module 1, Week 11

Week 11 : Theory & Symbolism Behind a Message

This content heavy week is a fascinating insight into the hidden messages and semiotics within our cultures. Hosken’s lecture inspired me to read Orwell’s Politics in the English Language essay.

Despite being written in 1946 it’s more relevant now than ever before – this week’s content couldn’t be at a better time. We are now living in a situation where we have to communicate predominantly digitally and maintain the same relationships we had before. With our new computing habits and shortform typing it’s created a generation of writers and thinkers who don’t consider their message or the meaning behind what they write. We’ve become so lazy with our writing habits that we no longer stop and think about what we’re writing or portraying, if we just put more effort into the meaning of our words could we create a more meaningful society? A society that thinks?

Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house”

Orwell, G. (1946) Politics and the English Language

Essentially, we are stripping our writing of any imagery or symbolism, our brains are no longer involved in what we say or write.

In understanding the semiotics of our language and the messages we want to convey, one needs to understand how the image itself is portrayed. The Signifier (the thing itself: item/object/word/image) is the carrier of the message, the vehicle by which the Signified is carried. This image can then be broken down into either an Icon, Index or Symbol. The Signified is the concept that has been conveyed, the message you want to send across.

Symbols have always fascinated me – how culturally differently we all view alternative symbols.

Take, for example, the number 3. To us, it symbolises perhaps a price, a number, the amount of loo roll we have left… But in many religious or cultural contexts, it has a much deeper and powerful meaning. The Triad. Birth, Life, Death… The Holy Trinity…

The Illuminati lettering is the same upside down as it is the right way up. Everything is connected, their symbolism of the all seeing eye is reflected in the text. The eye is not only used for this connection but also throughout history. Not only does the eye represent the soul in a human sense but also represents God in religion, a symbol of power and protection to the Egyptians.

Masonic Illuminati Symbols, Eye in Triangle Sign. Vector illustration

Throughout our different societies, symbols have different meanings and more power. This one vehicle, this one Signifier is heavily loaded with the signified.

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