The Symbol

“Every fact that is learned becomes a key to other facts.” –Edward Yourmans
(American Chemist)

Symbols have one characteristic in common with signs; they point beyond themselves to
something else. Man’s fundamental concern must be expressed symbolically, because symbolic
language alone is able to express the ultimate.

The red stop sign at the street corner points to the order to stop the movements of all cars
at certain intervals. The red light sign and the stopping of cars , essentially have no relation
to one another, but conventionally they are united as long as the convention last.
The same is true of letters and numbers and partly words. The point beyond themselves to
sounds and meanings.

Symbols which have an especially social function, as political and religious symbols, are
created or at least accepted by the collective unconscious of the group in which they appear.

The Pythagorean Theorem:

Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher of the sixth century BC and the leader of a cult that
worshipped numbers. His cult prayed to the Tetraktys, the first four digits.
One represented reason, two represented argument, three represented harmony and
four represented justice. Out of their religion of mathematics sprang some of the
most elegant geometric proofs in the history of humanity, including the proof
that bears Pythagoras name, The Pythagorean Theorem.
It simply states that for all right triangles ( triangles with 90%-degree angles)
a2 & b2 = c2, where a “b” are the short sides of the triangle and “c” is the longest side,
the hypotenuse.

Many cultures knew about the theorem before Pythagoras proved it.
The Babylonians knew the theorem 1,000 years before Pythagoras.

In spite of the variety of research on the meaning and function of symbols which we continue to explore, every writer who uses the term “Symbol” must provide his understanding of it.

The Manual Alphabet:

The manual alphabet is known simply as “Sign Language” for the deaf in which letters are
represented by finger positions. My position remains, man’s ultimate concern must be expressed
symbolically, the symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate, even if the
listener is deaf.

Charles Micheaux
Micheaux Publishing
Atlanta, Georgia

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