Re-ify, De-ify, Rune-ify

by phil on Saturday Jan 10, 2004 7:55 PM
Idea Archive

rune. n. Any of the characters in several alphabets used by ancient Germanic peoples from the 3rd to the 13th century; A similar character in another alphabet, sometimes believed to have magic powers.

When I was younger I used to be into collecting little things. Like collecting all the teenage mutant ninja turtle figures or Spawn comic books. I would set them them in a matrix on the floor and just enjoy their coherent splendor.

I LOVE that feeling you get when you see the essential sub-elements of a group deconstructed. Instead of collecting toys now, I want to collect important, related concepts. I want to arrange them into a matrix, to turn them into a team of Gods to be worshipped.

This is where runes come in...

There are three levels of symbols I want to talk about... characters, brands, and then runes.

Characters, like A and ! are symbols that mediate communication between humans.

Religious symbols and corporate logos are designed to mediate communication from an abstract superstructure, as opposed to a human. If you sit and focus on the Christian Cross or the McDonalds Golden Arch, for example you will feel it speaking to you. It will broadcast its collective history, identity, message etc. Groups of people imbue these symbols with enough energy to gain a life of its own that will outlive its creators.

Sometimes these symbols receive so much attention that they become a substitute for a substantive effect on a person. This is the point when the symbols become runes. This happened, and still happens, with the Christian cross, and is part of the motivation for the Protestant relgions that reject symbolic displays of Christ.

Anyways, the point of this is that I would like to propose the imbuing of modern constructs into runes. For example, I would like to take the list of neurotransmitters (dopamine, dramamine, GABA, serotonin) and design special characters that correlate to their resulting effects. Like dopamine should get a D with some jagged edges to signify its behaviour in creating anxiety. Or we could design the symbol to also include its chemical diagram. We could then create a history of it, drugs related to it, and scenarios of the behavior it produces.

Why would I want to do this?

First, recognize that these neurotransmitters are essential to the way we view the world emotionally and cognitively. The quantities of each neurotransmitter in your body determine what kinds of thoughts will occur in our head and therefore the actions we take. We should be aware of what these elements are and we should respect them. Creating these symbols will create an awareness for them.

Second, these neurotransmitter runes would create a good mnemonic.

Third, the aesthetic benefits of rune-ifying neurotransmitters would be great. Seeing each of these previously hermit scientific words deified into magical symbols would create a sense of wonderment and awe. Seeing them stand together as a collection would turn them into a holy council that determines our fate.


There are other phenomena that I would like to create runes for:

I have already, in draft form, created symbols for logical fallacies. Fallacies like ad hominem and ad ignorantam, when repeatedly committed throughout life have sweeping impacts on what you will believe. And so much of what we do depends on our concept of truth, that even a minor error, frequently repeated, will lead to a major bias in life.

One could make runes for all sorts of things, like Internet protocols or Maslow's Ladder.

This idea of deifying constructs that are hidden kernels for our lives would be a major awakening of their importance.

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