Thursday, June 25, 2015
[selected beginning of recorded dialog] No, Shelob, I don't understand this business about flags. Countries still use those?
I thought that was an article about the barbaric side of human history.
Is there another part of human history?
Hey. Not nice. We're supposed to be encouraging.
The use of flags is still common. Symbols seem necessary to motivate humans to do moral and ethical things. The inexplicable part is what those symbols stand for.
Your interview with those three people outside the mosque in New York contained their notion that the symbols for Islam call to mind the murder of Muhammed. Your interview with the protesters outside the abortion clinic indicate that the symbol for Christianity is the structure that Jesus was tortured and killed upon.
Oh, the cross thing; I knew that. Right. Go on.
Yet the Nazi swastika has not been adopted as an inspiration to followers of the Jewish faith. The Confederate flag has not been adopted as a reminder of why civil war should be avoided or why slavery should be considered wrong or why state's rights shouldn't supersede federal authority.
Ummmmm . . . [helpless tentacular gesture]
For that matter, the ambiguity of the symbol for piracy and poison is bound to lead to misunderstanding.
What?! [gill fluttering, translatable to confusion] What kind of situation could that possibly be a problem--
[redacted interruption, during which Shelob explains the danger] -ated by the trend of human history.
--rrrmmmm, no . . . I don't think that's very likely. You do make a good point though about the arbitrary nature of symbols. I'm ready to declare that displaying a symbol with or without context might be necessary for the education of younglings and that it plays an important part of any history lesson. In America, it also becomes important for freedom of expression. All this business about whether a flag should be flown is obviously important to some.
But you don't wish to say it is right or wrong.
Well, no. I DO think that everyone should feel grateful that they can direct their emotions so accurately that something so arbitrary as a flag could be used to rescue people. But doesn't that mean people are gullible enough to shoot their best friend in the dark if some criminal pastes a glow-in-the-dark swastika on them? Worse, in the case of certain ocular or neural trauma, wouldn't certain patients suddenly have the tendency to think, say, that good and bad symbols are reversed?
You are referring to vulnerability to manipulation.
Well, yes. If a symbol can be used against people . . . Shelob, you'd better blog on this.
Underway. [transmission ends]