Picture yourself sitting in a fancy cocktail lounge looking at the bright-colored wall of liquor bottles and juice jugs that were carefully placed behind the wooden bar; while, all the while, the “liquid chef” plays around with some strikingly refreshing molecular mixology techniques – either creating the ever classic Tequila with its grenadine and orange layers of gelatin, or “[re]mixing”/modifying the very structure of cocktails altogether. So, not content to simply rehydrate ourselves with plain water (without which we couldn’t survive more than three days), we have devised this wide palette of delicious drinks. And, isn’t it because without the fulfilling pursuit of creative expression – without love for creation – we couldn’t strive for a mere second, let alone a few days. At least since Masaru Emoto’s water crystal experiments, we know that liquids have the ability to copy and store information. With that in mind, the essence of this spagyric art of mixology lies in the melt separation on the one hand, and compressed synthesis on the other; as expressed by the formula ‘solve et coagula’: the order to dissolve and (re)join (in a manner akin to a bartender pouring a drink or even Pollock’s poured-painting-technique). The ‘symbol’ [Greek: “symbállein” = to throw together] as well as the ‘articulation’ [Latin: “articulus” = small joint] therefore both depend upon nuanced implications that eventually lead to the realization of an opaque, unspoken whole, as soon as the symbol characters turn out to be more than the sum of their parts (molecules).

Even so, I argue that symbolism/charactery is, simply put, a binder – an “aesthetic adhesive,” a cultural glue. Therefore, the symbol character (further referred to as ‘SYMCHA’) itself has no shape, but is quick to take on any chameleon form at any moment. The SYMCHA as soft glutinous core within a storyworld (narrative) formulates a “structure of structures,” which may be universal and culturally specific at the same time. It is the art of surreal jump-cutting and the (Dadaist) collage, which juxtaposes the SYMCHA into two cross-sections: hardware [an outlined figure, lightly sketched] and software [a ‘mental model’ that feeds information into the “character construct” (Emmott), or character cocktail]. It is always also a neutral zone (see further “super-zero” concept) of connectedness to the same conceptual hole within which the two – i.e., the shell and core – are seen as an amalgamation, in spite of their opposite nature. No SYMCHA stands for one thing only without also containing its opposite – the number of possibilities for these wild but “beautiful compositions” (Novalis) hence remains inexhaustible in depth of meaning and richness of expression; yet each part reflects the infinite complexity of the whole (i.e., storyworld). As in the ‘chess-board dualism’ of black and white – or zero and one – the question of the origin of the SYMCHA and the rationale behind it arises from the notion of an act of ‘creatio ex nihilo’ (creation from nothing), which aligns with Sartre’s characterization of a “nothingness” that penetrates our “being.”

When our symbols have become like fancy bottles filled with a pale opaque liquid and deprived of their former clarity, society wishes to experience ‘reality’ in its most primitive and simple form. Like a snake, we try to peel off the skinny layers of being, which have hardened our sensibility, rather than remaining pliant (not in the sense of tame) and flexible in the “brute force” of life. While writers and artists always lavished their symbols (in an almost flamboyantly vulgar way), the ‘scientist’ (for professional reasons) propagates ‘eliminativism’ and formalization of imaginative thought, which nowadays requires proven justification because we cannot stand to acknowledge the ‘mystery’ and sheer translucency of it. In his “New Science,” Giambattista Vico specifically mentions this particular form of ‘barbarization’ which he considers not to be the result of degenerating “into pre-civilized conditions, but rather as the unworldly overcultivation of concepts that have become empty in highly developed cultures” (Marienberg). Thus, it is this form of “barbarous sophistication” (Vico), which paints a picturesque society constantly at war against itself – ever aspiring to reach a higher level, and ever relapsing into the primal wilderness. This Manichean struggle between powers of humanity and bestiality, sanity and madness, order and chaos, extreme measurement (Mondrian) and apparent randomness (Jackson Pollock), is further internalized within the SYMCHA and also projected upon the storyworlds/systems through which the latter moves.

To be continued…