We live in a world where ideas and concepts govern our perception and behavior in ways that we are so blasé that never really analyze it. Abstract ideas are perceived in manner that they are absolute, while it could be argued that they are merely held as important due to the fact that a value is attributed to them (by society, the individual, or an institution). Many of these concepts that find themselves manifested within the physical world are merely constructional concepts that are reinforced and passively accepted. We tend to see this reflected in the form of symbolism, and national or territorial boundaries, that tend to have no real reciprocal justification within nature or the physical world. In my opinion symbolism, laws, and national boundaries are merely enforced by group consensus upon these abstract ideas. Only due to the fact that as we as a society view such entities are they valid, if it was not for the intervention of our perception all of above would have little no significance.
Let’s first examine the concept of symbolism; one of the most pervasive examples of this in Western Society is in the form of branding logos for commercial goods and services. For this example I will use the very familiar and almost universally known “Golden Arches” of the Mc Donald’s Corporation. Their globally recognized symbol/logo of the “Golden Arches” M is perceived as being inarguably the symbolic representation that is unique to that fast food chain. Due to the decades of close association with that symbol, no other lettering or explanation is required for most people to perceive it as the indication of an item, object, establishment, or service associated with this specific establishment. Once a building has this symbol represented to some capacity on its premises takes on a whole other meaning. It transcends being merely a building or an object and all of its composing parts, but rather takes on the identity of a Mc Donald’s restaurant. Through the merely incorporating the symbol of the “Golden Arches” into the architecture the building and surrounding premises, the building then absorbs all of the perceptions that we as a society have about this very establishment. That also includes all of the expectations that we have about the establishment, e.g. (serving various fast food meal options). In the absence of the “Golden Arches” the building no longer holds the same significance; it is merely just a building at that point. The symbol almost serves as our perceptual justification for see this building as something of significance. This is due to the symbol connecting our perceptions of the successful fast food establishment with its physical manifestation.
However, if you examine the symbol of the “Golden Arches” themselves, while represent the abstract concept of a Mc Donald’s establishment, they are merely a geometric pattern. Essentially they, are two half oval arches, intermarrying at the center, merely forming a circular top letter M. Now, my question becomes, is there any significance to this symbol and the natural world? In my opinion, no. Essentially, this symbol is based off of a character within the English language, which again is concept developed by man, which is not reoccurring in the natural world. So essentially, the symbol like the character M is only significant and has meaning due to the fact that we attribute meaning to it. In the case of our perception of the “ Golden Arches”, we only attribute a meaning to the symbol due to the fact that marketing staff for the establishment gave the symbol it’s meaning and we as people perceive it to have that intended symbolic representation. The symbol without the external cognition established through marketing, society’s perception of, and or an individual’s perception of the establishment in relation to that symbol it is merely a geometric pattern. The symbol of its own volition is to what makes it significant and recognizable; it is the value or significance we place on it. There is no such natural law stating that the character M illustrated in such a manner automatically represents that fast food eatery. For Americans in particular, it is so ingrained in such to associate that very symbol as representing Mc Donald’s, we passively perceive as such, with little to no question of its representation.
NATIONAL AND TERRITORIAL BOUNDARIES:
Another example of our acceptance of abstract ideas into physical manifestations is national and territorial boundaries. If you examine the majority of recorded history, often what delineates where one nation begins and other ends is often ascertained by treaty and war. There is often a close relationship/ correlating factors associated with both acts used as justification for national boundaries. Essentially, these delineations are often more generally accepted than are supported by natural land formations (mountains, bodies of water, etc.). For example, is the national boarder between the United States and its neighboring nations of Mexico and Canada separated by such natural delineations? The answer would be no. Also, the rickety fence we use to separate the United States from Mexico does not count as such due to being a manmade object; also much like the terms of a treaty is a physical manifestation of the abstract construct of national boundaries. When we look at the concept of national boundaries they are merely a concept, these figurative boundaries exist due to the fact that we as people chose to see them as valid. If it wasn’t for these the general consensus that they are in fact valid such delineations would not exist in our perception. If anything, these boundaries are solidified by the concept of what a country is treaty, etc. which are all human developed concepts. Much like national boundaries is valid because we believe they are and are solidified by supporting institutions and concepts.
If you really want to break down national boarders down to the bare basic reality, they are merely imaginary boundaries. Essentially, lines depicted on a globe or a map, with little to no justification from natural geographic division. Therefore, the concept of national boundaries merely exists due to our general belief in them and the supporting institutions, concepts and documents. That is why they are considered in my view to be a manifestation of a construct in the physical world. At its core an idea that is accepted as being an absolute in the physical world due to general consensus among humans as a whole. While these conceptual lines in the sand may be represented by physical manifestations of walls, fences, and written treaties, they are still are conceptual boundaries versus being validated by nature or other entity outside of the confines of human thought. Not to beat a dead horse here, however, they are only valid delineations because we believe them to be valid. If the concepts of permanent territory were never conceived such boundaries would not exist. Therefore, illustrating how national boundaries and territorial boundaries are essentially abstract and human conceived ideas that are transposed upon the material world.
As you can see from the two examples above, that we as humans have a tendency to transpose abstract ideas conceived by fellow humans onto the physical world. While we attribute the meaning and or significance of symbols and national boundaries, there is little evidence to suggest that the physical world validates these concepts. We as a species do utilize supporting institutions, general consensus (we all agree that it is valid), assumptions, and other abstract concepts to justify their validity in the material world. For example, an alliance of nations (e.g. UN, NATO, etc.) Drafting a treaty to validate the national boundaries of a country. Due to the alliance of nations (the supporting institution) drafting the treaty (an abstract concept manifested into the form of a written document) the national boundaries of that nation are then valid (Group Consensus/ Assumptions of validated). The same can be said for symbolism for the example of the McDonald’s log, McDonald’s Market department designs the logo (supporting institution) and the logo becomes associated with the fast food restaurant an abstract concept manifested into the form of a written document). While the examples display a distinct order for justification, that may or may not be the case for the formulation and justification and transposing of such concepts. However, these components have a tendency, from my observations, to be essential variables in the justification process. It really is interesting to see how we as humans perceive symbolism and national boundaries. It is particularly eye opening to observe how such abstract ideas are perceived in the physical world and have the tendency to take on a life of their own due to the meaning we attribute to them.
*** Please note the above written piece is not being presented as objective fact. These are merely observations. Please feel free to comment below*****