Monday, May 3, 2010

Symbols

Discuss 1-4 “universal” or “societal” symbols. (Avoid ones like street signs, etc.) When and why do you think they originated? If you are only exploring one, please be thorough.

19 comments:

Emily said...

One universal or societal symbol could be thunderstorms. Both thunder and lightening symbolize fear, suspense, and thrill. In scary movies, directors use thunderstorms to indicate to the viewer that a suspenseful part is coming up. The fact that lightening is so delicate and quick makes the thunder seem so loud and intimidating. Nobody knows when the thunder is coming, which tends to give it the suspense.
Another symbol would be street names and addresses. These represent a specific place where someone lives or resides. These specific places are used for directions and location. They were made very long ago to accurately locate a house, building, or location specifically without difficulty.
A third symbol would be a house and the rooms that each represent. A kitchen represents warmth and a home from the mother where she can cook. The dinning room represents a place where the family can gather and spend quality time together. The living room is a relaxing place where the family can have a good time while stress-free. The front door, even though it is not a room, represents the entrance and invitation inside.

cswift said...

Like Emily said, thunder and lightening symbolize fear, suspense, and thrill. Moreover, there are other types of weather that are used as universal symbols. For example, the sun usually symbolizes happiness, warmth and joy. Also, rain can symbolize cleansing or almost like a new beginning. I think that these symbols originated a very long time ago since they are known by almost everyone. I think they originated because a long time ago that is probably what someone thought of them as and the idea spread.

Another universal symbol is the eagle. The eagle is a symbol that represents courage, strength, and wisdom. Another bird that is a universal symbol is the dove. The dove symbolizes peace. Eagles probably became a universal symbol because of how courageous they are themselves. They are not weak birds and they have always been like that.

Lastly, a four leaf clover has always been a universal symbol for luck. Four leaf clovers are not easy to find, this is what makes them special. In many cases it is believed that one leaf represents faith, one represents hope, and one represents love. Finally, the fourth represents luck.

bservodidio said...

Im not sure if we used this example in class, but the universal symbol for choking if crossing your arms and basically holding your neck. Most people recognize this and jump to help. One of the most basic, and simple signs is the thumbs up, or the thumbs down. The extremely basic, but an effective means of communicating where ever you go. Thumbs up means good, and thumbs down means bad. You see theses signs everywhere, but you see the the most in fearful situations. Whether someone is hurt, and they are giving the thumbs up to show their ok, or even with little minor injuries. These common symbols can also be speed up or slow down.

NJacobson said...

Universal symbols are important to the society because the bring a sense of unity over the people. If everyone agrees on the meaning of something than it can be called a universal symbol. One universal symbol that is very prevolent in the United States is the Dove. The Dove symbolizes peace to many. It is universal peace. The Dove has always been a symbol of peace to the pepole and is often times used in songs or pictures to unify peace. Another symbol that is commonly thought upon is the light bulb. The light bulb often makes people think of somebody who has the answer. For example, is it was seen in a cartoon or a movie, it might pop up over the persons head. This is known to people as a knowing or having the answer symbol. It is very commonly used. The last symbol that is very well-known is the black cat. The black cat is known for bad luck. If someone is to cross a black cat, they are said to have bad luck for quite some time. These symbols have originated a long time ago and have been passed down generation to generation. They were most likely created to create thrill in some peoples lives. Some people like the idea of crossing a black cat accidentally. It is like going to see a scary movie.

Anonymous said...

An example of a universal symbol would be a dove, like Nadine said, but there are many types of doves that represent things other than peace. An example would be turtle doves. They are known to symbolize love. This symbolism originated because turtle doves are almost always found in pairs. When turtle doves meet, they stick together forever. If one turtle dove dies, the one left behind will not mate with anothe turtle dove. This symbolizes endless love. Two more symbols are the male and female symbols. The male symbol (a circle with an arrow pointing out of the top right side) represents the planet Mars, and the female symbol (a circle with a cross coming out from the bottom) represents the planet Venus. They were first used in 1751 by Linnaeus to represent the gender of a plant. Another symbol that is known universally is the "no" symbole (a usually red circle with a backslash through it). There are signs that have this "no" circle and under the backslash have another sign. For example, the no smoking sign. There is a cigarette inside of the red circle with the backslash going through it. There are also road signs that let a driver know when not to do a uturn or not to turn right.

mparker said...

One universal sign that is recognized all around the world is a smile. A smile simply means happiness. It can represent laughter, or something as simple as hello if you smile at someone passing by you. This most likely developed as a simpler form of laughing, because when you laugh your face gets filled with a big smile and your eyes light up. The simpler version of laughing would be a small smile, which is universal to everyone around the world.

Another universal sign that is also recognized all around the world is the "thumbs up". Simply putting your thumb up after falling or any sort of activity immediately makes the other people recognize that you are okay. After quickly researching what the thumbs up origin was, it came from the Romans. When a gladiator fought well, he would put his thumb up and everyone could easily recognize this.

jjahnecke said...

Another universal sign that is recognized around the world is the yin yang symbol. THis symbol consists of an outer white circle and a black inner circle. The outer circle represents everything, while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called yin (black) and yang (white), which cause everything to happen. Although this symbol is Chinese it has been recognized everywhere around the world especially in the martial arts classes all around the world. This symbol has been included in many movies and it has also been painted over and over again by artists. This symbol dates back to an early Chinese emperor who declared that this symbol represents the whole universe. I have personally seen this symbol everywhere, and after researching it i finally understand what it really means.

mriposta said...

An example of a universal symbol is the recycling symbol. It is three arrows rotating in a circle and it represents reusing all recyclables to help the environment. Many environmentalists use this sign and you will find it on water bottles, garbage cans, etc. Another symbol is the peace sign. We might have talked about this in class, but it's a circle with three lines in it that represents global peace, happiness, and unity. This became very popular in the 70s with hippies. A third symbol is the red medical cross symbol which is associated with first aid. This is on ambulances, in hospitals, and first aid kits.

ecrespo said...

The symbol that represents America and that brings to mind this country that we live in is the bald eagle. This eagle is rare, but extremely powerful and is seen as the greatest of all eagles. It is a feared predator, and is used by our country as a symbol of patriotism. Another symbol used by our country, or government, would be a scale. This represents the judcial branch and the justice that it serves to all citizens.

ctino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ctino said...

The lion is a universal symbol. It has been associated with power, dominance, ferocity, and bravery. Even during medieval times, the lion was used on shields and flags to represent their strength. It has been known throughout the world as being, the "king of the jungle" because of its pure strength and lack of enemies. This ferocious beast has become associated with dominance by its carnivorous diet and its reign in the habitat. In addition, the lion had originated in the bible as being powerful and brave.
Another universal symbol is the Tao, or yin yang as jjahnecke said. It has become the symbol of universal harmony and unity between opposites that match each other. Some common opposites are dark/light, male/female, earth/water, etc. The Yin is the dark and passive element whereas the Yang is the positive, optimistic element. This originated in ancient Chinese in order to enforce the religion of Taoism.

ajustl said...

Two symbols that span both the realms of being universally and socially significant are the peace symbols. When one sees the "crow's foot" inside a circle, they know it means peace, and when someone thrusts their pointer and middle finger into the air people know they mean peace. Neither of these symbols seem logical at a glance.

The written symbol of peace is first designed by British commercial artist Gerald Holtom in 1958 for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He chose this symbol for multiple reasons. First it contains the semaphore signals for the letters N and D (Nuclear Disarmament). Also in ancient history, the crows foot has represented death and dispair. The circle can mean eternity, the unborn child, ect. Holton saw his symbol as an apocolyptic warning to what will happen if the weapons were not disarmed. (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/435/what-is-the-origin-of-the-peace-symbol)

The peace hand gesture was originally a European insult equivilent to the american middle finger. It most likely orginated during the hundred year war between England and France. During this war the French would cut off the index and middle finger of English bowmen because those were the fingers used to shoot a long bow. English bow men did this two finger salute in battle towards the French. This symbol continued to have an offensive meaning until World War 2 when it was suggested as a symbol to mean victory or freedom. Following world war 2, during the vietnam era, counter-cultures began using it as a sign of peace at anti-war protests. This soon caught on and is now the mainstream meaning of a V formed by the index and middle finger thrust into the air.

galfieri said...

One universal symbol would be the peace sign. Like many simple symbols, it meant different things at different times. Some call it Nero's cross which is linked to the Roman emperor who persecuted christians. After world war II it was found on the tombs of certain Hitler's SS troops. The symbol was revived in the sixties by people who protested nuclear war, western culture, christian values. It was a symbol associated with hippies as they rejected traditional values from the generations before them. It was a symbol of a new age of global peace and unity.
Another symbol that is for the most part universal would be the yin yang. It is a chinese tao picture of universal harmony and the unity between polar opposites that are complementary. Yin represents the dark elements while Yang represents the lighter more upbeat elements. The Yin and Yang is constantly changing. I think this symbol started out as something that was only recognized in Taoism and those who practiced it. But then its overall meaning was spread through people and societies and is now seen as a universal symbol of harmony. It is a symbol that sums up the basic aspects of Taoism. It represents a culture and way of life.

EYanowitz said...

One of the many universally recognized symbols is that of the leprechaun. The leprechaun is an instantly recognized symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick's day. It can also be used to represent someone that hoards treasure or play pranks on people. In more recent times it has even become a mascot of a cereal that is so good that the leprechaun must devote his entire life to keeping it away from greedy children. However the leprechaun was originally derived from the Irish word luchorpán witch means small body. In Irish lore, leprechauns were known the make shoes, play pranks, and protect magical pots of gold. Its frequent prevalence in Irish stories is most likely why Leprechauns have come to represent Ireland. Also, they way it was always protecting pots of gold is probably how it came to be associated with a person that keeps nice things away from everybody.

Another symbol is a wink. People will wink to symbolize to another person that they are lying or that they share a common hidden secret. Sometimes it will be used as a quick symbol only intended for one person to notice. It can also be used as gesture of flirtation. Its origin dates back to 1100 when the word "wink" was used to tell somebody to "close an eye as a hint or signal". This easily explains how it has come to symbolize someone lying. One can wink at someone to signal that what they are saying is a lie, but since winks are so quick only someone looking for a wink should notice. This continues to make it an effective method of getting a particular person to notice something. Furthermore, its common use to demonstrate shared knowledge between two people denotes why it is used when flirting. It shows that there is some sort of connection between the two people winking.

Celia said...

A universal symbol would be a rose symbolizing love. A rose is a very pretty flower which shows how love can be very pretty. Although it is beautiful, a rose also has alot of thorns on its stem. This shows how love can hurt and be painful. Now many people give roses to people who they love just to show that they care. A rose is an easy way to say you care about a person without verbalizing your feelings. Many people who are less emotion and don't like sharing their feelings, can just give a rose to say what they mean.

pruvane said...

Pull out your wallet and take a look at the back of a one dollar bill. You shouldn't recognize anything suspicious immediately, but there are two very important universal symbols are the unfinished pyramid and the Eye of Providence; collectively called the All Seeing Eye. The All Seeing Eye is a sign of omniscience and higher thinking. These symbols were spurred from Babylonian roots, which were taken by the Egyptians, passed to the Greeks and so on. After a confusing mash-up in the renaissance period, it reappeared as a symbol of the Freemasons, of which Benjamin Franklin was a part of (among others), and thus the all Seeing Eye appeared in our one dollar tender. The Great Seal of the United States often goes through some trepidation, as self proclaimed 'realists' and religious fanatics claim of some New World Order conspiracy and occultism. This however is a misinterpretation of the symbol, as it was believed that the Freemasons were some group of pawns for the much younger free-thinking group the Illuminati. The real question of this symbol is: is it the Eye of God? Or is the Eye of a group controlling the whole world behind the scenes?

Kmichaluk said...

One very well-know universal symbol would be a circle or ring. It represents the idea of something being never ending or forever, because circles don't have any breaks in them they just go around and around. I would assume that it originated far back in time because the symbolism came from the shape it. Someone would just have to look at the shape of a circle and thing about it. Today people where wedding rings, which are obviously ring-shaped, and they represent the promise you make to your spouse that you will be with them forever.

SBedrosian said...

A universal symbol could be a "thumbs up" This simple hand sign means "everything's okay", "good job", "great". It is the symbol for happiness or contentment. This symbol could also mean "congrats" in a way. It could be seen as a praise on a sports team or during any kind of competitive event. "Thumbs down" universally means "bad" or "not okay." This could be useful if someone needed help and could not express it through words. It is also used when in a crowd and needed to express an opinion through silence.

Rachel said...

One universal or societal symbol is, like others have posted, the weather. Every kind of weather symbolizes something. The sun expresses warmth and happiness, the beach and summer, and is often used as a logo sign for many Sunscreen companies. The rain is percepted differently by many people, but it can either be representative of sadness, or something really intense, like a ship sinking in the rain or, like the Notebook used it, to emphasize the romance. Thunder and lighting are symbols for, like Emily said, thrill, danger, and fear. When you are watching a movie, whenever there is a lighting storm, you know that something intense is coming soon. That is why thunderstorms are not uncommon in scary movies.

Another popular symbol, mostly in the USA, is the peace sign. Everyone knows that the peace sign represents unity, happiness, and, well, peace! This symbol was used very often in the 60s when people were protesting the Vietnam War. It has stayed with us throughout the years and is now a common symbol in our society.