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Symbols can be tricky. Don’t rely on the symbol user(s) to understand more than a fraction of the symbol. And absolutely don’t expect the symbol user(s) to fully aware or honest about their symbols. Do expect symbol users to assume that you will assume that their use is intelligent and honest. Expect them to assume it in the face of evidence to the contrary: take our present president for example”: is he inciting us to murder, to arson, to disorder; or is he talking us out of it?
His appeal to our being “Americans”, for example. Does that have any objective meaning? What’s the meaning of a mob or protest?
Charlottesville 2017 08 mid-month
What’s the meaning of people, mostly men, marching with torches? That has a long-standing meaning among Americans. Isn’t it so familiar as to be obvious? Doesn’t it mean “We’re a lynthing party? The law means whatever we say it means? and we can change our meaning thirty times an hour. It means We’re Christians! But God didn’t give us this land: we took it! We took it fro the natives, we built it by slave labor, we order it by terrorism.
We all have some idea what “cross”es mean; how well do we understand the burning cross. You wake up, there’s a seven foot wooded cross planted in your lawn, flaming. Is your piety being saluted? Or is your life being threatened? Have your “rights” now been revoked?
Those revoking your rights: how did they get the “right” to revoke them?
Whether or not you voted for Trump, does he now have the right (or power) to redefine the law? Does freedom of speech mean that you dare not speak? and if you do speak, do you dare not say anything challenging or difficult? or unconventional?
Aspects of Symbols To Watch Out For
School compels us to attend and to profess belief that forced attendance and free speech somehow go together. People seem to be so stupid that they can “think” that writing something down makes it true. Slavery is illegal now: therefore, all those people trapped in their cabins on this plantation (or in Chicago tenements, there’s not much difference) are free, not slaves: Christians, not robots.
You have freedom of assembley: that’s why the cops set off the tear gas.
Another trick is: if we compare our experience with what we’re told about ancient Romans, then we may seem free. No, no, compare yourself and your moviements with the humans who walked out of Afrida tens of thousands of years ago. I don’t know how well they were free; but I know perfectly that we are not.
scribble always needs revision, editing
To date I’ve commented on personal symbols, pk idiosyncracies; I’ve taken common understanding for granted. But some symbols which are huge, under our nose, escape detection, are more micro-understood than macro-understood: dwell in musunderstanding.
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