Monday, April 19, 2010

Zero and Ultimate Reality - Symbols and Signs


To describe the unique metaphysical qualities of zero requires painting a number of brushstroke ideas in an effort to reveal the larger picture. Each idea, in itself, might not be extraordinary but in totality they form an image that points to another dimension. The next few posts will represent the rational argument, a philosophical claim developed with empirical reason. And because the physical world is a world of opposites or in common terms 'a duality' a rational claim in itself is an incomplete explanation therefore later posts in this series will be a spiritual assertion.

Signs and Symbols

To maintain clarity it’s necessary to define the difference between signs and symbols. Signs give literal meaning whereas symbols have secondary amorphous meanings. Examples of signs are abbreviations; nouns in the English language are also signs. When I write ‘put the book on the table’ the words book and table are signs that refer to physical objects. Traffic signs such as a stop sign are signs and not symbols. The order to stop is a literal command and can be seen phemenologically in the action of stopping. Symbols, on the other hand, are objects that embody secondary meaning above and beyond their literal meaning. One example of a symbol is the cross as a symbol of Christian faith. Embodied in the cross is the story and the life of Jesus and the entirety of the Christian Faith. To look at the cross and to think of a physical body on a cross of wood is to misunderstand the meaning of the symbol. The meaningful aspect of symbols arise in your consciousness not from your senses. Other potent symbols are the yin and the yang, the Star of David, the Crescent and the Moon, and even the swastika. In my argument I am focusing on the special characteristics of Zero. The first unique characteristic of zero is it’s both a sign and symbol. The two are interlocked and cannot be separated.

Next post: Zero as Concept

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