CHAPTER 4 - THE POWER OF SYMBOLS
We can imagine the power of this early, evolving symbolism. It’s reasonable to think that as icons began to serve man’s manner of expression, the evolution of language wasn’t far behind. Symbols, with their endless variations and elegant proportions, must have lit up our senses and enlightened our minds, like fragrant oil flowers must have lit up our senses and enlightened our minds. It would take thousands of years for us to immortalize our own systems of writing, yet the symbol of “flower” would continue to propagate as a motif. What was captured from nature as a decorative device inevitably transformed into an emblem of mourning. Eventually, the symbol of flower would lend itself to political and geographical connotations.
Man would use his native flora to suggest creative elements of his own origin story. In everything from the sacred to the sublime, man used these wondrous creatures expressly. Flowers helped him signify his spirituality and understanding.
When we convey the nature of a place what is more descriptive than the plants, animals and hillsides that it contains? These things compose our native landscape. What nature bestowed upon our earliest homelands we incorporated into our oldest traditions. This synergy of human ideology and natural grace generated abundant resource for our creativity.
These transient creations, the flowers of this age, served as icons as our manners of expression continued to develop. Eventually, a simple lotus would convey the entirety of a people. Over time, a humble papyrus clump would give meaning to a king.
As our technologies abounded, so did our desire to build and settle. The floral elements around us became integrated into our systems of belief. These elements of style became as figurative as language itself. They expressed design, structure, and proportion. Ultimately, this symbolism evolved further and room was made for new methods of communication.