What if we lived in a world of only symbols?

Imagine if we lived in a world made of symbols.
What if everything was symbolic and nothing was literal?

Most would argue that the best symbols were literal, because they symbolized the literal so clearly and so well that they were basically equal to it.
People would want to get at the literal stuff and push aside the “subjective” lesser values.
Still, if this world was only symbols, how would someone discover that it was only symbolic?
I believe people would regard the best symbols as literal, even though they were only symbolic.

Welcome to Platon’s realm of Forms, Dan squiggly line. It has taken you long enough to get here. We were waiting for you, for a great length of time…

I don’t think that such a world could exist. At some point a symbol would have to reference something literal, otherwise it would be continuous chain of symbols representing other symbols. There would be literally nothing.

So symbols require something real and literal before they can exist, do they?
I consider it a post modern idea to relate causality or source with literal things or with reality as an object.

I think we do live in a world of symbols. Not necessarily the exact ones they teach in logic courses, but some kind nonetheless.

Symbols represent patterns of information relationships imho, so yea I’d also say that we do live in a world of symbols.

Somehow certain arrangements of that give rise to aggregate [forces, objects] and consciousness, so it appears there is a fabric of reality which is utilised by such symbols.

Stranger still is the idea that the fabric and symbols don’t contain what they bring about.

rehash of the subjective experience?

In a world of symbols there is no subjective/objective, only relationships* between symbols [*which themselves are symbols].

Of course there would be subjective interpretations of all symbols, if not why not?


Because we have described the world as symbols, the so called subjective experience lies within that description.

e.g. in the deterministic view there is simply one thing affecting another, we can follow the set of objects from the world and right through our brains. In the free will model there is simply a decision maker involved in the process of informational exchange [itself a symbol in each instance of choice ~ the same occurs in the world where QM WFC decisions are made]. The brain is of the world, no?

I don’t understand what you’re getting at but I don’t think its what I’m getting at…

Well I am stripping everything back and seeing a world of symbols, instead of more overt holistic view of objects, like a humans VS world duality implies. Think of it as similar to if we thought only of atoms, there would be little if no difference between sets of atoms in our forms and in the environment.

What were you getting at? :slight_smile:

Unseen triangles.

We already live in a ‘world of symbols’ because of our languages. But I’m amused by the imaging of a tree. In a world of language symbols, would you have a tree made up of words: the trunk appears as the vertical spelling of the word ‘trunk’, with all of its innards shown in schematic form; leaves appear as the letters in the plural of the word ‘leaf’ spelled out letter by letter and scattered around the top of the trunk. Limbs and branches would also have to be reduced to a visual image.

Ultimately, I think those visual symbols would end up as ‘words,’ much like ancient pictographs and/or Egyptian hieroglyphics.

This somewhat

Bear with me as I’m sure I’m not saying anything new to you:

Because of our subjective experience and limited subjective visual perception everything we see is not necessarily what it actually is in reality, i.e, color being a phenomenal property of light refraction from objects, and not being a property of the object itself per say. The visual perception of something such as a desk only looks like a desk to us because that’s how we perceive that object constantly, but that doesn’t necessitate that we are actually perceive the object as it is nor does it mean anything can perceive any object as it truly is. Perhaps in this way we can see that our perceptions and percepts are nothing more than symbolic representations (through our interpretation of our perception) of what the item in physical reality actually is.

I think we have to move beyond the holistic level here, no? where the symbols are what objects [on the universal scale] take their instruction from.
Perhaps we could say all particles are the same in symbolic meaning, like a point and axis in a set of relationships, then we add their differences as concerns their mass, orbit and polarities, and this is where the relationships form symbolic meaning.

For example; there are 6 quarks in a nucleus [forgive me if my physics is wrong, it’s the philosophical point that counts], polarity has three positions [positive, neutral and negative] which becomes three-fold because we have those three positions as particles [3 quarks], + 3 more quarks representing the three positions in terms overtly I.e. one set of 3 quarks are positive, the other 3 are negative, with neutral between them. that’s why there are 6 quarks perhaps?

Now we can call that level of symbols the overt scale, beneath that is the background information; in holographic theory objects are holographic representations of that informational background, and I’d assume naturally of its patterns/symbols [the covert scale].

If we now see the universe as a thick sheet of paper [an analogy often used in MWI theory] which gets spliced in two ~ to create a parallel universe, then we could equally see an occurrence of symbols across the universe which is involved in each and every decision made, every flip of a coin - so to speak.
What I mean is that if we accept in MWI theory that all pathways are found in every instance of change across the universe, then if that theory is wrong and the world of symbols theory is correct, then we need only assume the same thing but for informational relationships.

The primary symbol for me is the triangle [I’d prefer the Celtic triskele ~ three intertwining spirals] as it appears at least to represent WFC and other primary relationships such as polarities mentioned earlier.
I’d expect the universe to find the most expedient means to finding all pathways across the universe, so reading all sets of three ~ all triangles, across the universe would achieve that.

For sure. How can we compose those symbols? And especially how can our subjective compositions correlate in any way to the environment? There is no way we could be talking if they didn’t.
So we have two options;

  1. A universe of symbols that the subjective mind uses to relate to its environment. [otherwise there’s no correlation of symbols et al].
  2. A universe of symbols that the world uses which the subjective mind reads from informations gathered from the world.

Either way there is a universe of symbols imho.

If ‘1’; for the symbols to relate to objects and collections of objects, you need also ‘2’. or again there is no correlation.

Note; information is always corroborative and always ordered. ‘There is never a case of a thing without information about that thing‘, if true then there is never a case of any thing or set of things not being in a relationship with other things. For me it’s a bit like relativity, you view your subjective perception of an object and I observe my perception of the same object, just like objects are different in time according to observational perspective, they are different in terms of their informational relationships ergo their symbols.

In this theory I see no reason why there are not always symbols about things and perspectives of things.
The same theories and rules not to mention the same relationships of patterns, are the same irrespective of the human observers subjectivity, because all spatial locations would contain the very same ‘relativity’!