We communicate in so many ways. A touch on the arm. A murmur of exhaustion. A chuckle. An extended palm.
But our bodies are only one canvas for expression. Over the millennia, humankind has developed thousands of different forms of written communication, from hieroglyphs to kanji to the characters I’m using to talk to you right now. What connects them is that they are all kinds of symbols.
Symbols have evolved throughout the centuries. Even since 2000, there has been an eruption in the variety of symbols we use to speak to one another. Emojis and emoticons and – to an extent – memes have taken over as the prominent form of punctuating what we mean. And the words themselves that we have used for centuries have become multifaceted. Less words seem to have more meaning.
When we want to express a more complicated thought these days, we are conservative with our words. A whole sentence can be expressed by one or two words.
I find it fascinating that sentence fragments have become full thoughts. Look at one well-used example: lol. I cannot remember the last time I fully meant “laughing out loud” when I sent it to one of my loved ones. To me it has become a period more than an acronym. It softens harsher sentiments. It indicates sarcasm, light-heartedness, and absent-minded joy in three letters.
Stop on by the Chester Library on March 18 to learn more about symbols, specifically of the Celtic sort. We will also be making temporary tattoos, as tattoos and symbols are the merging of human bodies and written communication.