The importance of symbols: and then…

By | July 17, 2008

Sometimes I think I must be the least worried by symbols that other people take for granted, such as flags, decorations, coats of arms, and other ways that people attach their own identities to or even to bolster their own identities.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t have symbols that I enjoy, that I feel are important to me, or even identify me in some important respect. But often these symbols aren’t mass market appealing, or even don’t connote much to more than a group of people.

If I were to sport religious jewelry, I’d be as likely to choose a Catholic rosary as a Buddhist one. It’s not that I call myself Buddhist, it’s just that living in a Buddhist country, I identify with it for very different reasons.

Can it be that I have a stone heart? Perhaps, but perhaps not. We have a Union Jack hanging in my office at work, part of the symbology of teaching and marketing, I guess. It’s not that I particularly cared for it when I was at home, but somehow it means something to me now. It represents a connection to a spiritual home that I will probably lose in 2010 or 2011 when Scotland votes for formal independence.