Some symbols serve to ensnare listeners and keep their minds set or bound, maybe for a life-time. Then, for want of a nail the rider was lost. The rider her is the witnessing deep consciousness. The nail may represent fit ideas.
Rudolf Steiner once compared tight definitions with too narrow or too small shoes. Good definitions and concepts to live by, have to be a bit elastic or loose - or big enough. Neither shoes nor food for thought should block the space craved for such a thriving and growing - together as well. Thus, it behoves us to leave some room for the unexpected yet. Good foresight is into it. Have leeways of thought for the sake of artistry of living.
It is essential to understand to what degree language in itself (per se) is representative, that is, a largely symbolic outfit for man.
If a labelling stage is missed, much groundwork for future process may be spoiled. So children should learn many names of things and happenings (key phenomena) for the sake of their future control of life.
The process of mental development is eased by good stories in relaxed, non-scaring settings and entertaining ways. Most folk tales are, and surrealism is into lots of them (miracle tales, for example). Some fantastic tales seem to speak to hearts, where they can be cherished as valuable.
Good use of symbols uses similarities on top of comparison labours. Greek culture was evidently fond of fantastic symbols. Folklore is often rich in handed-over symbols Giants in Greek tales can be regarded as symbols that need interpretations. By locking up the handed-over symbols, ideas that pertain to man's general condition may stand out. Freudian thinking has tried to decipher ancient Greek stories in that vein. Not all of these intrinsically well-meaning efforts seem well founded and factual, though. But the field of speculation and interpretation depends on the sagacity and skills of those who enter it.
What is called a symbol is also derived from more or less common agreements about it.
In sciences, such as mathematics and physics, symbols help us to get control or more control, or firmer control. Such control lies in the "symbol park's" capacity to sum up. And what is more, the symbols that sum up a lot, do not have to look big. Used as pegs of a sort they help recall a whole lot, and excellent symbols aid recall and control for other reasons too. Apt symbols make newcomers remember stuff that is communicated a lot better. Figurative mentions and some symbols help unifications too.
Albert Einstein spoke for fairy tales as fit for making future scientists. [Zipes 1992:1]
Swift of foot as he was, a cat caught a fat wild rabbit, popped it into his bag, knocked at the king's castle gate, went before the king and with a sweeping hat-bow said:
"Sire, my master sends you this fine plump rabbit as a gift."
The queen got very interested. "Is your master young and handsome?" she asked. - "Would not you like to marry such a man?" the queen asked her daughter.
In the end not much mattered so much as being dressed up well, having property to show off, and being civic enough.
Charles Perrault (1628-1703) in 1697 published Puss in Boots and other fairy tales of Italian origin - among others. [More]