What is the importance of the symbols of power? When you see the Ferrari sign of a rearing horse, what do you immediately associate that with? Extreme power and terribly expensive. This is a tongue-in-cheek look at the importance of the symbols of power.
England’s Prime Ministers
The importance of symbols of power is clearly demonstrated in the Prime Minister of England’s choice of a lectern. British prime ministers get to choose the style podium that is used outside No 10 Downing Street, when their speeches are televised worldwide.
Boris Johnson chose to stand at a solid, dark wood lectern. For her final speech as prime minister, Liz Truss, Britain’s shortest-lived prime minister, chose an ornately carved light coloured lectern. Rishi Suku chose a severely, plain, light coloured lectern. So, what is the importance of these symbols of power?
Interpreting Symbols of Power
The interpreting of symbols of power is emotive, not actual truth, but there are symbols of power around us all the time. It is in the language people use, the way people dress, and the way they behave. Think back to the ‘flower power’ of the swinging 60s. Loud music, free love, drugs etc.
Then there are symbols of power in advertising, art and architecture. The symbols of power are a major tool in advertising and getting us to purchase their product. All ‘branding’ has its own particular power, be those symbols in the negative or in the positive. Power symbols are deliberately designed to be emotive.
Power is an abstract concept, with interpretations as varied as there are human beings on the planet. A young woman standing on the street corner in skimpy, tight clothing sends out particular symbols of power. Yet, those same signals may convey an entirely different message, if we cared to look. Underneath the clothing maybe a young woman screaming for help.
Symbols of power may mean different things to different people. Some see a flag as a symbol of nationalism, while others see it as a symbol of freedom. The crown is a symbol of monarchy, while others see it as a symbol of oppression. Frederick the Great said “The crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in.”
The cross is seen as a symbol of faith and forgiveness, and that good can overcome evil, while other see it as a symbol of control by a patriarchal world. Cupid is seen as a symbolism of desirable love, while others see it as sentimental nonsense. It is all in the eye of the beholder.
Unique Symbols of Power
The symbols of power are unique to each individual, religion, and society. One of the world’s most powerful nations chose a phallic to commemorate George Washington’s presidency. Not sure it was a wise choice for a powerful nation to use a symbol that represented a man’s penis. Is it just another reminder that we live in a ‘man’s world‘?
Every human being has their own symbols of empowerment, which reflects what they feel on the inside. Take a moment to look at the personal knick-knacks that you enjoy having around you. Each one represents a memory, a desire, or a personal achievement. All are part of your personal empowerment and are symbols that represent your personal achievements.
Go back to the individual lecterns chosen by the British prime ministers. Johnson displayed expansive ideas, as he had difficulty with the truth. Truss wanted the frills while the extremely wealthy Suku, said “I want no frills”. An interesting choice, when you consider that Suku’s wealth, by marriage, is said to equal, or double that of King Charles.
Double Sided Symbols of Power
Some symbols of power represent authority, while others represent wealth. A uniform is a symbol of power that can cause respect, bravery and honour, or it can represent repression, bigotry and hatred. It is vital to remember that symbols of power are ‘neutral’. It is the way a person uses that symbol that gives it positive or negative connotations.
On the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, we saw the Imperial Crown, the Royal Sceptre and Orb. At the end of the day they were removed and set aside for the heir apparent. It was not so much what the symbols represented, but the honour and respect the Queen had earned over her lifetime. Will King Charles earn the same respect, even though he will ‘wear’ the same symbols of power?
Behaviour Affected by Symbols of Power
Carrying a sign of a skull, or seeing men dressed in white gowns with pointed hats on their faceless heads, sends a particular message. If you see someone carrying the sign of a clenched and raised fist, it represents the power that person has, or would like to achieve. Either it is a call to unity, or a call to rebellion and defiance. It can be a call to arms, despite the consequences.
On January 6th, in the attack on the heart of American democracy, we saw behaviour directly affected by symbols of power. The uniforms on both sides, the way people’s behaviour was affected by others, are all powerful uses of symbols of power in an attempt to bring about a particular outcome. No one can forget the images of the extremely brave man dressed in the uniform of the Capitol Police, facing the oncoming mob.
Women and school children in Iran burn the hijab as symbols of their power to resist an oppressive government. Hundreds have died, and over 12,000 people have been arrested, but heedless of the outcome, their symbols of protest have been registered.
Symbols of power affect the way you behave towards others. How would you react to a woman dressed in rags and pushing a cart with all her worldly possessions in it compared to a woman dressed in fine clothes, jewelry and driving an expensive car? These are symbols of amount of power each woman has.
Nature’s Symbols of Power
Symbols of power exist in every aspect of life, as well as in nature. The wind blowing through the trees, or a blade of grass blowing in the wind, are symbols that nature is growing, and ever changing. A symbol of the world of nature, which will continue to evolve, despite man’s worst efforts.
Lightning is a symbol of unmistakable and unmatchable power. It lights everything around it and is a clear warning of change and danger. It points to a force of nature that is beyond mankind’s control.
There are symbols that are often ignored to a person’s misfortune. How many people drowned when in the face of an oncoming tsunami, people became mesmerized by the sight of the ocean withdrawing way beyond its tidal boundaries? The same thing applies when people are asked to evacuate in the face of an oncoming storm.
How many people have been physically hurt when they become mesmerized by an angry and jealous woman on the rampage?
Cultural Symbols of Power
The American dollar shows the symbol of an eye, which represents protection and authority. In some cultures the eye represents the warding off of evil spirits or it represents royalty.
The American symbol of the bald eagle is so powerful it can destroy its enemy with one swipe of its powerful talons. It remains an enduring symbol of strength and freedom.
In Chinese culture the dragon is a vastly used symbol of immense power. It represents authority and strength, wisdom, and good luck. Just as the symbol of yin-yang is a symbol representing perfect balance of the forces of the universe.
Egypt felt the symbol of the sun was the source of great power. They believed the sun had the power to protect and heal. Egyptians also gave cats the power of goddesses, with the ability to see into the future. Haven’t you often wondered what a cat was thinking as you looked into those unblinking eyes?
Love’s Symbols of Power
Mahatma Ghandi said, “There are two kinds of power. One is obtained by fear and punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear and punishment.”
“Do you love me?” is the most loaded question in the universe. Just asking that deadly question, of “Do you love me?” gives the answerer power over the person asking.
What are the symbols of powers when a man turns up with a box of chocolates and flowers for a woman he wants to impress? Or, what is the symbol or power exerted by the lack of flowers and chocolates, forgotten birthdays and anniversaries?
You and I have conscious and unconscious symbols of power in our realm of influence.
You and I have conscious and unconscious symbols of power in our realm of influence. A modern-day prophet can walk around with an oversized bible tucked under his arm, trying to tell the world that his word is to be given suitable adherence. The truth is that he is probably just an oversized, puffed-up cock rooster.
I have seen a little old lady wielding a rolling pin. It is effective symbolism. My grandmother impacted my life by her quiet, unyielding presence. I often saw her hands covered in flour, as she lovingly prepared quality food for her family. Just as our personality gives out its own unspoken symbols of power, so too our voice can be used for good. Take some time to check out your personal symbols of power.
Check out other posts at Whispering Encouragement. We are here to inform and encourage. Talk to us. Tell us of any person, business, or incident you would like to see highlighted. Subscribe, for free, so you can keep up to date with topics that interest you.
Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. She says life is too short to waste, so live it to the fullest.