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Can bad symbols be used for good?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Surprise Plastic Watermelons, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Surprise Plastic Watermelons

    Surprise Plastic Watermelons New Member

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    Taken from another thread to discuss whether one can take a symbol that has negative connotation and turn into a positive.

    Your thoughts?
     
    whereismynotecard likes this.
  2. whereismynotecard

    whereismynotecard There's no room on here!

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    Sure. It's just a symbol. I think we should make all symbols "good" because symbols are awsome, and there is no use making people feel bad when they see a little scribble of a symbol when it can make them feel good instead. :D
     
  3. Surprise Plastic Watermelons

    Surprise Plastic Watermelons New Member

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    Do you really think that a symbol such as the swatiska taken by the Nazi's can ever fully be turned back into the originally meaning in Sanskrit?
     
  4. Azakel

    Azakel Liebe ist für alle da

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    Sure it can. But how long it will take is another question though.
     
  5. 3.14

    3.14 New Member

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    sure but you need a damm good reason otherwise people won't be bothered
     
  6. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

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    Symbols rely on the culture and society that surrounds them to give them power. What you're really asking is, can western society ignore the strong connotations and associations we have that connect the Swastika to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in order to avoid negatively judging innocent Religious traditions which also use the symbol. I would hope the answer is yes, though a certain degree of time is needed for the cultural disassociation of the negative in question.

    In a more general sense, it will be easy for society to do this with symbols that are less culturally powerful.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  7. whereismynotecard

    whereismynotecard There's no room on here!

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    Yeah. Because they did it the other way around easily enough.
     
  8. Surprise Plastic Watermelons

    Surprise Plastic Watermelons New Member

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    Maybe the question is that is it easier to turn a good symbol bad then a bad symbol good?
     
  9. whereismynotecard

    whereismynotecard There's no room on here!

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    Probably.
     
  10. Comicaze247

    Comicaze247 See the previous line

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    There's no such thing as a "bad symbol." What's bad is what they were used to represent. What if Christianity used a swastika instead of a cross and the Nazis used a cross instead of a swastika? It doesn't make Christianity evil and the Nazis good. The things they represent don't change. Just like names.

    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet."
    -Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  11. Zephyr

    Zephyr Moved on

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    This. Symbols like the fylfot (think swastika), Othala, Algiz, and Sowilo runes have been used by people for all the wrong reasons, but that shouldn't prevent guys like me for using them for the right. I understand it is a sensitive issue (hence why I don't use the fylfot as an avatar anymore), but they're just symbols. Why should a bad usage of them make good usage unacceptable?
     
  12. Comicaze247

    Comicaze247 See the previous line

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    2,412
    You don't seem to be disagreeing with me, lol.

    I'm saying there's no such thing as a bad symbol. Just bad usages . . .
     
  13. Zephyr

    Zephyr Moved on

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    Oh, I'm agreeing with you completely. I'm just furthering it with some personal examples I've taken flak for.
     
  14. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    LDS Christian
    There is nothing inherently good or bad in a symbol. The symbol you posted, for instance, has had different meanings to different people throughout the history of the world.
     
    Sunstone likes this.
  15. 3.14

    3.14 New Member

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    btw is it just me or don't nazi's use a version without dots?
     
  16. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli Premium Member

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    My favourite quote about symbols:
    A building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it.
    Symbols are given power by people.
    A symbol, in and of itself is powerless,
    but with enough people behind it,
    blowing up a building can change the world.
    ~V
     
  17. Mathematician

    Mathematician Reason, and reason again

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    That's a great quote. I also like this following paragraph about symbols from one of my favorite fantasy authors, Gene Wolfe:

    "We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges. When soldiers take their oath they are given a coin, an asimi stamped with the profile of the Autarch. Their acceptance of that coin is their acceptance of the special duties and burdens of military life—they are soldiers from that moment, though they may know nothing of the management of arms. I did not know that then, but it is a profound mistake to believe that we must know of such things to be influenced by them, and in fact to believe so is to believe in the most debased and superstitious kind of magic. The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational people know that things act of themselves or not at all."

    SPOILER on relevancy:

    The narrator just saved a rebel's life in the first chapter, and the rebel repaid him with a coin. Throughout the book the narrator (a torturer) thinks about the coin in his pocket, and he sees it as a bond between the rebel leader and himself. At the end of the first novel he is captured by the rebel's men and works beneath him to destroy the Autarch (King) and restore a fairer system that will rebuild the world (all of this happens on Earth thousands of years from now, while the Sun is about to die, and technology is seen as magic). It eventually turns out that the coin is a fake, and he comes to believe he shouldn't have saved that rebel's life. It's all beautifully told: the coin theoretically was a symbol he invented, yes, but since it had no connections with reality, he remained blind to its influence.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  18. linwood

    linwood New Member

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    What about the stars & bars?
    This symbol was not co-opted from another source.
    It`s origins were born in an ideology that fought for the right to own slaves.


    [​IMG]
     
  19. Elessar

    Elessar New Member

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    As a point, that is NOT the Stars and Bars. That is the Confederate Battle Flag. The actual Stars and Bars is:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. linwood

    linwood New Member

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    My mistake.

    I was using the common terminology of those I`ve heard who still fervently wish the South had won.

    Maybe they should educate themselves on their own history as you`ve educated me.

    :)

    Can this symbol ever be co-opted for "good"?
    Will you ever see a black man riding around with this symbol in the rear window of his pick-up?
     
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