Examples of Symbols Used Today and Interpretations Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Symbol is an image that conveys an idea to the viewer. For instance, the Golden Arches symbol used by McDonald's conveys the idea of fast-food -- a burger and fries with a Coke to go, picked up at the drive-thru window. One little symbol puts in the mind an idea and can even put in the will a desire for something that was not there a moment ago. Symbols have the power to ignite one's imagination and to move one's will to behave in accordance with the ideas embodied by the symbol. Thus, the Christian cross can be a symbol that reminds one to behave like Christ, to serve as an example of goodness, mercy, charity and truth to the world. However, not all symbols have the same effect on people. While the Golden Arches of McDonald's might inspire hunger in some, it can inspire revulsion in others (depending upon one's education, what they know of and believe to be true about McDonalds -- i.e., McDonald's makes good food vs. McDonald's uses meat that is questionable). Likewise, the Christian cross might inspire one to prayer or it might inspire another one to hatred (again, depending on how one has been taught to view the ideas related to that symbol).

Symbols therefore can be different things to different people: but they all essentially do the same thing -- they inspire in the viewer a flurry of ideas and a behavior in the will. The Star of David is another symbol that might make one think of Israel as the home of the Jews, or it might make one think about Israel as an apartheid state that commits genocide against the Palestinians. The Islamic Crescent is similar: it conveys an idea about Islam, whether or good or bad depends upon the viewer.

There are many modern symbols in the world and they may be categorized in various ways, with some overlap. For instance, there are religious symbols, like the Christian cross, the Judaic Star of David, the Islamic Crescent, the Hind Om symbol. Each of these expresses an idea about religion/politics. There are product symbols, like the Nike swoosh, the VW car symbol, the Apple symbol. There are social symbols such as the Anarchy symbol and the Peace sign; and there are ones that have a more utilitarian purpose -- such as the ladies and the men's restroom symbols, or crosswalk symbols or power button symbols. There are symbols that reflect something about pop culture, like the Batman symbol or a baseball team's logo symbol. There are symbols that stem from our use of technology, such as the Facebook symbol, which allows user to easily share a link to something with friends online. So there are many different kinds of symbols with many different purposes: some to show brand loyalty or affiliation, others to show a belief system (such as the Masonic symbol or the Anarchy symbol), others to show where a product or service can be located (such as the USPS).

Most of these symbols are well-known in the West and…

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