Social Question

Symbeline's avatar

What is the mightiest symbol in the world?

Asked by Symbeline (30493 points ) August 14th, 2011

The most influential and known symbol known to mankind. A stop sign? A cross? A green light? Yin Yang? Skull and crossbones?
Anything goes, what do you think is the mightiest symbol of all? I’m looking more for ’‘fact’’, or at least observation, rather than preferred symbols.
What is the most universal symbol ever, why, and what does it influence people to do/act/think/wtv?

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86 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

I’m gonna go with this: http://www.designofsignage.com/application/symbol/hands/largesymbols/peace.html

it does have a few different meanings depending on the culture, but I’ll say I’ve seen it nigh everywhere I’ve gone

Symbeline's avatar

@King_Pariah That, or maybe a peace sign.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A smile from another human.

Edit: As long as it isn’t a creepy one that means, “You are about to go down.” while they are wielding a weapon in their hand.

filmfann's avatar

The Star of David, though it is different things to different people.

Symbeline's avatar

@CaptainHarley Yeah, I always wondered about that eye in the pyramid on the American dollar bill. What’s the meaning behind all that?

@Pied_Pfeffer Lol. XD

filmfann's avatar

@Symbeline and @CaptainHarley Rather than the eye of Ra, I think the dollar bills eye is Masonic related: the all seeing Eye!

redfeather's avatar

This!

Just kidding. A cross maybe?

marinelife's avatar

Probably a cross.

KhiaKarma's avatar

The nod of a person’s head….or the shake of the head as if to say “no”. Although I think some cultures have variations, it is a widely universal and powerful symbol of communication to express one’s preference.

Symbeline's avatar

@redfeather Lol cool. In literature, it may be quite a strong symbol.

@FutureMemory LOL nice. XD

@KhiaKarma Yeah, or whatever the symbol for no to whatever culture…no is pretty strong.

@Earthgirl Yeah, that has to rank up there.

KhiaKarma's avatar

It’s actually pretty powerful in the new planet of the apes movie…. GQ

Symbeline's avatar

Ain’t seen it, but I heard it was pretty good. The trailer also showed some very impressive looking monkeys, at least, when it comes to monkeys that aren’t actually monkeys.

lillycoyote's avatar

Symboline? I meant Symbeline… sorry…

mazingerz88's avatar

I am so thinking of a certain human finger standing in attention right now.

Ltryptophan's avatar

The Sun…symbol?, @CaptainHarley seems to say this.

redfeather's avatar

@Symbeline I meant in Middle Earth… duhhh…..

Symbeline's avatar

@lillycoyote I may be slightly biased, but that’s fucking genius.

@rebbel I think you pretty much nailed that one.

@mazingerz88 LMAO, an excellent point. I wonder though, all over the world, how many hand gestures are there to symbolize the classic fuck you.

@Ltryptophan So that’s what that eye thing is?

lillycoyote's avatar

@Symbeline I think you are more than slightly biased in this instance, but if your biases lead you do describe one of my comments as “fucking genius,” well, I am more than o.k. with that.

And is there one most powerful symbol in the world? I don’t know; I don’t think so. National flags are very powerful symbols but most powerful to the citizens of the countries those flags represent.

Symbeline's avatar

@lillycoyote Yeah, flags are quite powerful. Some people burn flags…that’s gotta mean something. :/

lillycoyote's avatar

@Symbeline Yes they do. And that is one of the reasons people need to remember that flags are just symbols, just representations of something, not the thing itself.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am really bummed out because the first symbol that came to my mind was th swastika. Any way you look at it it provokes a very intense reaction. After that I would think one the oldest and best known wold be a skull and crossbones.

Symbeline's avatar

@lillycoyote Indeed. Burning a flag doesn’t do anything. But neither does worshiping them. People be fucked up, man.

@SuperMouse Actually the Swastika is the first thing I thought of too, while thinking of this question. I think I know how you feel though, I didn’t even want to mention it in my details.

lillycoyote's avatar

@SuperMouse Why are you bummed out about that? It’s a symbol that was co-opted by the Nazis and is very powerful in what it has come to represent.

SuperMouse's avatar

It makes me unhappy to think that something that represents such pure evil can be so powerful. I guess it is essential to remember the horrors though or, as they say, we are destined to repeat them.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Symbeline Exactly. While burning the flag is and should be protected speech, I don’t think it really accomplishes anything but pissing people off, at least domestically, but, on the other hand, the flag should never be held in higher esteem than the “republic for which is stands.”

And @SuperMouse, yes, the swastika’s power as a symbol of evil helps to remind us “never again,” I think.

Symbeline's avatar

@lillycoyote I like to think that too. But evil keeps happening constantly all over the place, all the time. :/

lillycoyote's avatar

@Symbeline I am not so naive to think that a mere symbol of evil will prevent evil from occurring. Of course not. But it is something to keep in our minds, something to make us remember what has come before. It is up to the world to prevent it from happening again, and it hasn’t. Cambodia, Serbia, Rwanda, etc. Just to name a few in decades since WWII. It happens over and over. But the symbols are still powerful and meaningful and useful in the fight against evil, I think.

_zen_'s avatar

Coca Cola’s logo – probably he most recognized in the world. Maybe Nike’s swoosh.

As far as religious symbols go – I’d say it’s evenly distributed between the top three Judeo-Christian Muslim symbols.

The peace sign is a biggy.

The Yin Yang is a biggy.

I think I read somewhere that (unfortunately) the Marlboro logo is one of the top 5 or so – even without the writing – just the red logo.

Think globally: including Africa and Asia – that’s where the answer lies. Am I wrong?

Edit: Did someone mention our Dr. J?

;-)

mazingerz88's avatar

A man’s erection.

Symbeline's avatar

@lillycoyote Yeah. You’d think something like the Holocaust would be enough, but I guess not. It pisses me off that fucking up people seems to be in our nature. :(

YARNLADY's avatar

If you go by the numbers, it would probably be this one.

_zen_'s avatar

@YARNLADY What is that exactly?

mazingerz88's avatar

@zen my guess is something Islamic? Either that or maybe Klingon. Lol.

_zen_'s avatar

@mazingerz88 Not to derail this thread – but yeah, Islamic – but what? I don’t know how to search from an image yet – does someone here know how?

@YARNLADY Do you know what it means dear?

Jeruba's avatar

I think it’s the circle.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Symbeline and WWI was such an unprecedented, horrible, destructive tragedy of a bloodletting that it was referred to as “the war to end all wars” but that didn’t turn out to be the case, sadly.

YARNLADY's avatar

It is the Islamic symbol for Allah.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’d put McDonald’s golden arches before the Coke or Nike logos.

cletrans2col's avatar

The American flag. Absolutely badass.

_zen_'s avatar

@YARNLADY Thanks – I thought as much but wasn’t sure. It’s right up there with the Star of David and Cross – remember: the more literate a peoples are – the more they are aware of symbols – so it might be recognized by the 1 million odd Muslims – but the cross is probably more recognized – as I didn’t even know what that said. BTW – it probably just says Allah in arabic – as that is arabic writing and I think I recognized the Aliph – the first letter – like Yussuf Islam’s (Cat Steven’s) song A is for Allah. Youtube it: a classic.

~

_zen_'s avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Maybe – and to think a couple of years ago they thought of changing it – wait for it – to a yellow question mark. Good thing sometimes the creative listen – like in the case of Gap.

tinyfaery's avatar

Mickey Mouse or Coca Cola. Maybe McDonald’s golden arches.

Pandora's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille LMAO, I so want that on a shirt.

Sunny2's avatar

An arrow. It points the way to go. It’s a sign of power. It represents a tree on a symbolic map.
It has existed since the earliest writing. My vote is for the arrow.

MacBatman31's avatar

A big middle-finger with the thumb out to the side!

perspicacious's avatar

The cross.

King_Pariah's avatar

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before but what about the Red Cross? Seems to be a universal medical symbol.

And totally the Guy/Gal bathroom symbol.

basstrom188's avatar

The Bass Red Triangle

Your_Majesty's avatar

Griffin and Dragon have been known as the symbol of mightiness since ancient times.

Ltryptophan's avatar

The American Flag.

Hibernate's avatar

The swastika or maybe The star of David. Who knows.

_zen_'s avatar

@Hibernate Please – not in the same sentence. It creeps me out.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

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ddude1116's avatar

Something shiny. We humans love shiny things. It’s one thing I think everybody agrees on.

Brian1946's avatar

The explicit symbol representing the mightiest and most visible force in the solar system: http://www.sunwren.com/SunSymbol.jpg

flutherother's avatar

A flag. (Just thinking of one can make us act crazy)

Brian1946's avatar

<——-This is now the mightiest symbol in all of The Supreme Dude’s creation!

rebbel's avatar

@ucme Of course…., who wouldn’t recognize the Audi logo.

ucme's avatar

@rebbel Vorsprung durch technik ;¬}

King_Pariah's avatar

@Hibernate @zen Stupid Nazis had to go and make the swastika look all bad…

_zen_'s avatar

@King_Pariah Agreed – it was used way before.

MacBatman31's avatar

The Batman symbol. Think about it, it means that even without a super power, someone can do super things. Plus it stands for justice too. And, well, I just like it.

Symbeline's avatar

@MacBatman31 The yellow surrounding looks like teeth.

filmfann's avatar

@Symbeline Herb Caen refered to it as The Judds meeting Dolly Parton

FutureMemory's avatar

( . )( . )

Yep.

Blondesjon's avatar

all of you fluther history buffs know that hitler’s version of the swastika is actually an inversion of the origin, right?

I’m thinking the little hash mark that tells you whether or not you are tall enough to ride this ride.

King_Pariah's avatar

Same symbol flipped, yeah I know, I just get a bit ticked when someone is wearing something like this and get’s shit for being a neo-Nazi, thank you Nazis for ruining a perfectly good symbol

atlantis's avatar

Hitler only chose the swastika because it represented racial purity to him. But why invert it?

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