Posted by: wolf | January 30, 2008

A symbol is a symbol is a symbol

No, I’m not writing about symbolic representation or any other cognitive science/psychology thing.

I have just finished Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s_Pendulum” which actually includes some ideas for cognitive scientists (if you look hard enough): the main issue is that everything is a symbol for something else and it’s hard to get to the beginning. The leading characters conspire to invoke a conspiracy theory (yep, an underlying issue is self-reference) putting in most of those ingredients nowadays everybody knows from the “Da Vinci Code” (Eco’s book is some years older): rosicrucians, Knights Templar etc. The book is a fantastic read, but you need at least some previous knowledge of these not-so-obscure-anymore matters: I remember starting to read the book about ten oder twelve years ago for the first time, but somewhere in the middle of that sizeable   I stopped because my head spun from all those references to things I didn’t understand. And note that I probably still do not understand half of the references and symbols even after having read the Illuminatus! trilogy or the probably less well known Pendragon Legend and other stuff.

But wait, I shouldn’t have told you all this… Or should I? Do you believe someone that he is not a conspirator if he tells you he isn’t or rather if he tells you he is? That is one of the points psychologists might think about, above the symbol/representation issue.


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