Inflation is a process. One spends more for less. More money for less goods or services. Same goes for symbols. Symbolic universe expands. More symbols are visible, available, inhabitable, imaginable. More symbols and more users – more inflation. Does inflation make symbols less valuable? If symbols proliferate, some uses and abuses will lower their value. Can we speak of an inflation of the symbols of the cross, when they become jewelry? When a crown of thorns becomes a necklace or a ring? Can we speak of the inflation of the symbol of a national flag, when it becomes a gadget or a standing comedian’s prop?
The point is that it is easier to grasp how much more a hamburger costs than to guess how many symbolic spices make one’s life palatable. How many symbols of a happy and fulfilled life make one feel happy? Does it depend on how many cases of happiness one manages to witness in all accessed media? Does it depend on how often one is jealous that others accumulated more symbols of welfare, wellbeing, wellness? With what symbols does one measure life worth living?
Symbols convince that something is worth wanting, doing, going through, remembering. Who or what guarantees their value? Churches? Parliaments? Universities? Spiritual leaders of mankind? We have to mortgage our communications to spiritual, cultural, metaphysical, ethical authorities to preserve good symbolic standing. What do these authorities, these symbolic banks of symbols, do to convince the clients that they have solid values in their holds? They refer to memorized knowledge in the skies (clouds, actually). They point ethical heroes and aesthetic masterpieces out. Ethical heroes should convince us that virtues and values really exist. Aesthetic masterpieces should help us experience these values first hand. Do they?
Expanding symbolic universe means that we cannot predict what will be the color of light as in “in the light of what we know”.
January 30, 2018