Cultural Symbolism Essay

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act intentionally, i.e. showing behaviors aimed at a pre-arranged goal. In this sense, projectuality reveals originality, and capacity for innovation and creativity, whether it was expressed through flint working, shelter building, or food handling. The same is to be said for technology, which can be related to tools, housing, or food. The animal world does know and apply technology: beavers build dams, bees build perfectly hexagonal beehives, and birds build their nests but, unfortunately, there is no innovation, no progress, and no evolution in any of them. "Symbolism" is another essential characteristic of culture. It is the capacity to attribute to a sign, a sound or an object a meaning or a value going beyond the…show more content…
This is called "social symbolism." Finally, there is another symbolic system, in which communicating means expressing the intimate thoughts of people without any particular reference to events or needs. Arts, religion, and ethics, for example, allow us to "transcend" both the spheres of biology and social communications. There may be some expressions referring to biological and social life but, in those spheres, we are completely independent and able to transcend any biological and social needs. This is why this kind of symbolism is known as "spiritual symbolism" . Deacon (1997) was right when he defined humankind as a "symbolic species." Being at the very core of culture, like two faces of the same medal, projectuality and symbolism should be considered as one, single entity, expressing human abstract intelligence and psychism. Moreover, because they are creative expressions, they may develop and improve their results, spreading through society by extraparental transmission. By accepting as true this definition of culture, we might as well point out that culture is peculiar to human beings. Therefore, it is definitely incorrect to attribute it to animals, indicating it as any behavior acquired either by imitation or by casual learning, and never through biological inheritance. Nevertheless, this position is
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