Friday, 7 June 2013

The Magic of Symbols

Where marketing, Jungian psychology and general observations come together I have discovered the magic of symbols. Every thought structure has symbols that represent it. The more people believe in these symbols, the more powerful they become. When one takes a step back and looks at them carefully, one discovers that they are representations of an idea that has gained power and momentum through belief. When we don’t recognise it and simply take them for granted as “the truth” rather than a construct, they dictate our reality.

The poem Ozymandiaz by Percy Bysshe Shelley comes to mind. I was fascinated by this poem when we analysed it in English class in high school. It made so much sense – the hunger for power, the ruler’s urge to deify himself – leaving monuments in his honour on earth after his soul has departed his body. While the physical material used to build the structure is still there centuries later, it has been eroded, leaving only ruins. One wonders what for. The leader is no longer there to appreciate his legacy.

In a similar vein, I watch snippets of Sky News when I can’t help doing so whilst cycling in the gym. I wonder at all the processions when there is some political congregation. It doesn’t look like there is a point to any of it other than a display of power. The reason why school kids wear uniforms is to discipline them into submission. The same can be said of the suit and tie as the corporate attire and the fact that jeans are not allowed on golf courses. It’s a little bit ridiculous and yet everyone accepts it because it’s what they’re used to.

Symbols speak to the subconscious mind, which explains why countries have flags and companies have logos. Most of the time we don’t question these symbols. They tell us what to believe and we fall in with it, assuming that they must have authority if they have survived. In a way it’s true because only the ideas that people believe in survive, yet most people don’t recognise their freedom to choose what they want to believe in.

The symbolism in being wealthy leads me to question why people want to make money. I’ll risk looking like an idiot and confess that I don’t understand money at all. Whilst in some sense it is a figure on a computer screen that determines how much one can buy, in another sense it is a floating ideology that decides the social order. We don’t desire the things money can buy because they truly make us happy, but because we attach a certain meaning to them which gives us a sense of security. The things we are sold are only significant for as long as we esteem them. To be free from the ideology of money rather than enslaved by it, we need to consciously bring our intentions to the way we work with it. If we use it in such a way that it makes us happy we will transform it, making it work for the benefit of the whole.

Whilst symbols can be used to influence us and control our minds, it is also Nature’s way of talking to us, telling us what we need to heal. She speaks to us about the power that we find inside through our connection to the whole. Recognising that we create our own internal universe frees us from the belief that we need anything in order to be happy.

The best things in life are free. Happiness can be chosen at any time because it comes from the space between something and nothing where there is no limited supply. The more we believe in it, the more we have of it and the easier it becomes. Happiness is right here, right now, not in the future where we will have all our ducks in a row or enough money to claim our freedom. The most exciting discovery one can make is that one doesn’t need anything to be happy.