Perception according to the Freemason James Kirkpactick, is ultimately an illusion.
How you see yourself, your neighbors, the world… isn’t real.
For just a few moments, attempt to put aside everything you think you know about yourself. Every belief you have about the universe, creation, society, freedom, government, and God. You have beliefs, but you are not your beliefs. Just as you have a body, but you are not your body. You have a mind, but you are not your mind. You are not words or definitions. You are not your given name. You are not your profession or your hobbies.
So who are you?
This is perhaps one of the most powerful questions you could ask yourself. And it is always being asked.
Part of the human experience seems to be the curious need to know the answer.
Here starts the power of symbols. Words can only express so much. They are restricted by structure and rules and definitions. We seek something deeper than words. We seek something beyond definitions. Beyond structure and rules. Symbols create that space. As James so eloquently elaborates, every person who looks at a symbol can create their own special meaning for it. This special relationship is what gives a symbol strength.
Symbols spark something inside of us. They hold a unique meaning that only the perceiver can capture and hold onto. It’s why billions of people around the world bow before a crucifix, instead of the word “Jesus.” In fact, many people who bow to the cross don’t even believe in the Savior Jesus Christ. They have their own reason for worshiping the symbol that bears his legacy. Collosal wars have been fought to bring a single meaning to its shape and millions of people have laid down their life to protect their own version of the image. Yet, the symbol of the crucifix remains an intensely personal.
For this reason, symbols embed themselves into the subconscious mind, where feelings and emotions and energy leech on it. Now when we look at a pyramid we see much more than a triangle. I might see power and influence. You might see the key to the heavens. Someone else sees slavery and deceit. But if an intelligent leader can web enough of these visions together, the influence is catastrophic.
Hitler’s swastika is only one example. History is scattered with the use of symbolic power. It is no wonder that thousands of corporate brands bare the same shape as the ancient pyramids and other overused symbols. It is hard to argue this isn’t intentional. People respond to these carefully placed images- and when people respond strongly to something, they are more likely to pull out their wallets.
So the next time you decide to wear a logo designed by your favorite brand, stop and ask yourself why you identify with the shapes, the colors, the intention? What does it mean to you? You don’t have to start making all your own clothes and disappear from modern society. However, it might benefit you to understand why you respond the way you do to certain imagery. Because as powerful as symbols may be, they are still a part of the illusion that makes perception.
And although you have a perception, you are not your perception.
Leading us back to the question… Who are you?