By the sign of the rod and cave

“Psychological symbols cannot be altered in the brisk way in which one might change a road-sign. They are not, like words, conventional signs, loose pieces arbitrarily nailed to their meanings. Nor are they even fixed items, standing in regularly for a single meaning, as Freud seems to have thought. For him, pen simply meant penis and bag meant womb. Questions scarcely ever arose about what the penis or womb themselves meant.  In our imaginations, however, these questions are extremely important. Such symbols are not simple counters, they are gateways to whole uncharted territories.” – Mary Midgley, Science as Salvation

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