Symbol, Archetype, Tug of War, Metaphor

Flint on steel to­day from a ran­dom bab­ble on mak­ing a eu­nuch out of Vin Diesel. A fel­low friend fel­low teach­es an English course to col­lege frosh, they’re do­ing po­et­ry and now think every­thing is a sym­bol. I’ve been there.

The stuff I wrote in col­lege [I’ll up­load my chap­book and link it tonight] was more ref­er­en­tial than sym­bol­ic I think. But folks seemed to read it as sym­bol­ic. Maybe it is. Maybe they didn’t know what sym­bol­ism means. Maybe I don’t know. I think in ar­che­types, I think; not sym­bols. I’m ref­er­en­tial. Or was. I’m try­ing to be broad­ened now. Anyway.

I like the mak­ing of as­so­ci­a­tions be­tween eas­i­ly un­der­stood ar­che­types and then pluck­ing the string of that as­so­ci­a­tion in or­der to write the sound in­stead of writ­ing the means of the sound. At least try­ing to. I tried to as­so­ciate ar­che­types that wouldn’t nor­mal­ly run in­to each oth­er so the sound of the string would be in a note not nor­mal­ly heard. Creating a tug of war be­tween what the two ar­che­types are is what i am be­ing been wont to pay[ing] at­ten­tion to.

I nev­er think “This flow­er shall be a sym­bol of cap­i­tal­ism” or “the mon­key will rep­re­sent ig­nominy.” So I use[d] things that are al­ready there and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the pegs from which the sound of sym­bol can be writ­ten. Uh huh. So may­be ar­che­types are sym­bol af­ter all, and I did in fact write with sym­bols. I doubt it, but re­vis­ing, per­haps I felt no need to cre­ate my own sym­bols be­cause they are al­ready ex­tant if you look for them. Maybe I thought then, as I sort of do now, tha sym­bol­ism on­ly gets you in tune to play the metaphor.

That is what I’ve been try­ing to do late­ly, work on metaphor. Haiku is good prac­tice on that. I sort of cut my teeth on sym­bol, played chop­sticks with its pos­si­b­li­ties and now I at­tempt larg­er works, may­be a sonata or some­thing rag­time with metaphor. I think metaphor is more re­silient, more uni­ver­sal. I would think that peo­ple would find it eas­ier to grasp a metaphor rather than a sym­bol, es­pe­cial­ly if they are from an­oth­er plan­et and do not have the nec­es­sary cul­tur­al back­ground to com­pre­hend a sym­bol.

Symbol and metaphor seem com­ple­men­tary, one is strong where the oth­er is weak and they face dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. It is all mu­sic though.

6 thoughts on “Symbol, Archetype, Tug of War, Metaphor

  1. Yes. Derrida. Yes.

    And, if you want to get (lit­er­ary) the­o­ret­i­cal about it, read se­lec­tions from Roland Barthes. He plays with this kind of stuff, too. And, he is gen­er­al­ly more ac­ces­si­ble than Derrida. See Mythologies; S/​Z; Roland Barthes; Image, Music, Text.

  2. Six of one half dozen of the oth­er. Referential v. Symbolic, be­cause in ei­ther case you’re go­ing to some­thing that has to be in­ter­pret­ted and the in­ter­pret­ing process will vary from per­son to per­son — don’t you just love der­ri­da. so may­be to you it’s a ref­er­ence, and to some­one else it’s a sym­bol and may­be those two things are the same? i mean, if we’re all al­ways in the pro­ces of see­ing and “de­con­struct­ing”, then a ref­er­ence is still no more than a sign post.

  3. to read oth­ers books on the­o­ret­cal thoughts, means that you stop think­ing of you own. your lit­er­al­ly dumb­ing your brain. please, i would love for you to email me and have a heat­ed diss­cus­sion about this. thank you

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