What is Symbolism, and Can it Change YOUR Life?
Symbolism is one of one a persons most extraordinary traits, one of humanities most crucial talents. Symbolism is the ability to interpret external stimuli, such as words, sounds, or sensations, transforming them into ideas relevant to ones self. Numbers are one of the most ingenious inventions of the human race. They allow an infinite amount ob objects to be represent by a few characters. Human memory itself can be drawn upon and past events can used to give context to new situations and even develop your sense of identity.
Using symbolism an inventor can take a problem and see the components of a solution. One normally minor incident can turn into the "final straw" that drives you to change. A dark alleyway can quickly change into a detour because of phantom muggers. A name and a face can represent a person and money can represent success.
Symbolism can be used to see past the routine of daily life and imagine an alternative. It can arise when you are exposed to a stimuli such as a walking, eating a meal, driving, or just about anything that occurs of a regular basis, and you experience a reaction different than the one you would normally use to respond to that object of event. Certain levels of our awareness can often be kept out of the range of perception in order to leave room for higher brain functions. As routine actions gradually become automatic, they become less open to symbolic interpretation than when it was a new occurrence.
Upon first encountering stimuli you begin to experiment with different way of perceiving or interpreting them. As you develop a base response for that particular stimuli you conscious mind pushes that developed interpretation down into the subconscious mind, leaving room in your conscious mind for interpreting new stimuli, this saves you the distraction of having to continually re-evaluate a stimuli that has only "one" correct of possible response. Eventually, as your mind develops through childhood and adolescence, you will build up quite a store of these responses in what is known as your long-term memory, commonly defined as memory that is not readily-available to the consciousness. Eventually this memory composed of a life's collection of trial and error of both your reactions to, and interpretations of stimuli, will form the human personality.
What is the personality, after all, if not an individual's interpretation of situations based upon past experiences which involve the discovery of the best ways to perceive and resolve other situations. By researching a stimuli or event you can temper this raw memory into a more refined process, the result can often have an "atypical" outcome and contribute to a deviant personality.
By saving routine responses within the brain for handling routine stimuli, the conscious mind becomes less cluttered. A routine event is an event that occurs at least once a year, as often as several times a day, and you no longer interpret the event because you perceive there is only one "correct" way to interpret and react to it. You may spend 20 years getting gifts for your family at a Christmas dinner in the same relatives house, without once contemplating the meaning behind those gifts. You may have had the experience of sitting in an air conditioned room and not even noticing the hum of the air conditioner until it was turned off. Even more important to preserving the consciousness are the stimuli you do not notice, such the feeling of your bones moving within your body every time you walk, the feeling of blood rushing through your veins, or the feeling of food making its way through the digestive tract, these processes have always been there and you cannot allow yourself to be distracted by something that happens every time you every moment you are alive. .
With a well developed sense of symbolism you can take a routine even that you no longer notice and think about the meaning of it, a different reaction or a different method of explaining it.
It is unfortunate that the majority of life can easily become a routine, a progression from point A to B without glancing at the roadmap of life at even the most important of crossroad. Although the transition of routinely encountered processes and stimuli into the background of memory has the benefit of making room for conscious though, it can have consequences if the person is not making use of this extra processing power. If no new stimuli are encountered, as more and more processes begin to fade into the background, you will naturally being to lose the ability to perceive new processes and you critical thinking skills will wither away. A consequence of this, as reported by may middleclass and especially lower class persons is that you begin to feel trapped in a set of circumstances beyond your control, you no longer have the ability to perceive alternative solutions and every day becomes identical to the one before it, this phenomenon is referred to as "The Daily Grind".
The key to ending this chain lies in being able to take an event that has occurred numerous times before, even an event that is in your memory that still influences you, and to perceive it in a different way. Quite often seeing a situation from another persons' perspective can lend you new insight about the way you do something. But the role of symbolism is the ability to see the same set of stimuli yourself, until the right set of psychological conditions are met that you see a different response. This allows you to change and in turn to change the same stimuli into something different when it may be that the only thing that has changed is you.
That is one of the key points of symbolism; people who study their lives come up different methods of approaching it.
What is Symbolism, and Can it Change YOUR Life?
By: Derik Mitalik