the symbols of Narayan

a dictionary with commentary

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I make references in the commentary to several recurring motifs that I've noticed during my first pass of analysis; the relevant page is not yet up, as I've not fully teased out the meaning of these motifs, and there are one or two I don't understand at all.
If you wish to see how a symbol overlaid on the basic grid (and you have a Javascript-friendly browser), run your mouse over it.

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BALANCE
Its very simplicity points at its inherent importance to Narayani society--those concepts which are most necessary to communication are usually those which are written in the shortest and simplest manner. Also note the symmetry, which relates it to love, harmony, and system. The presence of the upper and lower elements (which I'm only starting to tease out the meaning of, but seem to variously refer to parent and child, the past generation and the future generation, and the superior and the inferior, as well as some other possible meanings) hints at a balance between parent and child, between past and future.
BELIEVE
(no commentary yet)
CHANGE
Perhaps inconsistent with the noted motifs of power and dynamism (the wave which appears in various other symbols), which we associate with change--yet change can be more subtle than that. Note the similarity to nature, and consider that the Narayani ecosystem is in constant change and growth, and its inhabitants cannot help but be aware of that.
CHAOS
A strong similarity in form to entropy, which is sensible enough. The odd angles and choppiness of the design--most symbols are formed of much smoother curves--are also unusual.
CIVILIZATION
The twining of the roots creates a relationship between the upper and lower element, and the symbol is enriched with every meaning of those elements I can read into it--symbols are many-splendored things. Notice the strong and understandable similarity to society.
CONSTRAINT
An object is limited in one way but not in another. The motif on the right reappears often, but I as of yet have only inklings of its meaning; I am guessing it is connected to conscious will in some way.
CONTRADICT
The wave meets the pod (that is how I often interpret the small circles, as the pod, by extension the home, and by extension the center--and supporting framework--of society).
CONTROL
The upper element reaches down and presses upon the lower.
CONVEY
Vertical relationships strike again. In this case the upper reaches down, its loop covering what looks like a wave in the lower. Or, alternatively, the force moves up from the lower element to cause a reaction in the upper. Either way, something is conveyed.
CREATIVITY
From the low element, the conscious will (if that interpretation is correct), comes an outpouring of curls--startlingly similar to the weave--including a whole circle. thus are Narayani society and the crucial actions that support it connected to the creative and the spontaenous.
CYCLE
A spiral either curls or uncurls, depending upon your view. It may seem odd to use a spiral to represent a cycle, which is a circular element, yet when one considers the way cycles function in linear time, the circle of events becomes a spiral. I will avoid speculating on linear vs. cyclical vs. spiral time at this point; that will come later.
DEPENDENCE
Quite noticeably the mirror of encourage--why, I have not figured out. Here we see two of the "consciousness" motifs clustered about a pod; this could be read as people depending upon the support of the pod.
DISCOVER
I see vague reflections here of several motifs that I've not yet found anything about for sure; I cannot yet say anything.
DYNAMIC
The archetypal wave: oceanic power, eternally changing, full of unconscious, dynamic energy.
ELEVATE
The wave lifts up a circle. An interesting contrast with contradict; I will do research into the relationship of the ocean to the pods.
ENCOURAGE
Noticeably similar to dependence, yet in a way a reversal of its meaning. I tentatively read it as conscious energy encouraging the pod--since without the people, the pod spores would burst and die. The connection between these two symbols is suggestive of the cycle of dependence that is key to Narayan.
ENEGY
The unknown motif on the right creates an energetic spiral on the left. Noticeably seperated from the common dynamic wave, and possibly key to any interpretation of said unknown motif.
ENTROPY
Similar, in the vertical form and angular meetings of the arcs, to chaos, and has a similar meaning. Entropy is the natural growth of the roots, the thickening. The lower element, complex, becomes the more simple lower element; life and its complexities decays with time.
ETHEREAL
(no commentary yet)
EXIST
(no commentary yet)
EXPLORE
Fascinating similarity to weave and create, and dissimilarity to discover.
FLOW
Similar form to cycle, but with a quirk at the end that is reminiscent of a wave. Life in its cycles flows like water.
FORCE
An interesting symbol: another break from the wave imagery prevalent in concepts related to force and dynamism. Indeed, the wave is lacking in force, change, and energy, yet present in many concepts that seem derivative of these.
FORM
(no commentary yet)
GROWTH
I see roots. Nothing else yet.
HARMONY
Two waves in perfect balance--indeed the symmetry is similar to that of balance and system, and identical to that of love.
HONOR
I wonder if the wave has a different meaning when upside-down. No commentary yet.
INFINITE
(no commentary yet)
INHIBIT
An unusual symbol in several ways. It is the only known example of symmetry along a horizontal axis, and one of only two (along with < HREF="#system>system) which contains none of the outer circle. Nothing more to say yet.
INTELLIGENCE
(no commentary yet)
LOVE
Love and harmony, always together. The similarity hints strongly at the way love resonates in this society; it is a force of balance, of the positive interaction that keeps them all alive. The upper and lower can make it a parent and child symbol. The two people, a sort of combination of dynamic force, pods, and the roundness of a head, seem to be kissing. Also notice that by removing four arcs you can form balance, which is another beautiful thing.
MACHINE
(no commentary yet)
MERGE
Related to flow with that angular wave. Also quite noticeable in that it is one of the few (along with society) that contains the complete outer circle.
MOMENTUM
The wave and the unknown motif in combination; not sure what thhat means.
MOTION
The wave again, in a key concept. That little fragment hanging out on the right reminds me of a movement line in a cartoon; perhaps it is the wave's destination.
MUTUAL
The vertical entwining motif is reminiscent of civilization and society, perhaps stressing the importance of codependence in Narayani ecology and thus society.
NATURE
Although the shape of this symbol seems obvious to us--a leafed branch--it seems strange to see it on Narayan, where the vegetation (or at least the vegetation that we see and which is central to society) does not have leaves and stems like earthly plants. Perhaps its similarity to change is important, as nature is always changing.
NURTURE
This is about as obvious as it gets: a mother nursing her child.
POSSIBILITY
The modified wave--a human--and the unknown symbol. I feel so close to grasping this one, but I'm not there yet.
POWER
The form is familiar from several other symbols; I will do an analysis along those lines.
QUESTION
(no commentary yet)
REBIRTH
The person motif is involved. I only wish we had the symbol for birth lying around; as is, we can only compare it to resurrect, which has similar meaning, and also involves that motif.
REMEMBER
(no commentary yet)
RESILIENCE
Not that common on Narayan, of course, due to the delicate ecological balance. Interesting involvement of the full circle. From strength to weakness and back to strength again? More later.
RESURRECT
The full circle: from life to death and back to life again. And that full circle is pulled by an extra arc out of the person motif. There is also the unknown motif, suggesting the very conscious involvement that distinguishes it, in my eyes, from a rebirth.
SACRIFICE
Nothing yet, except that I've noticed that branching motif on the left in honor, discover, and remember, among others; it's starting to seem to have more to do with conscious effort than its cousin that I've already thought of.
SOCIETY
So similar to civilization, but with the added element of the circle. Conscious effort at the bottom and the top, the twisting of the roots binding it all together. The entire deal is wrapped in a pod, as well as all the other symbolisms of a circle.
SPUR
You can see the unknown motif on the right with a sharp curve moving up, spurring the elaborated circle.
STATIC
(no commentary yet)
STIMULATE
A double dose of the unknown motif, and a piling of circles that reminds me of creativity.
SURVIVAL
Reminiscent of weave, for some very important reasons. And look how it contains part of sustain!
SUSTAIN
The bottom element sustains two overlapping circles. The possible implications of this on that whole bottom/top/parent/child thingie are interesting, but I have yet to solidify that train of thought.
SYSTEM
The same sort of symmetry as balance. Also the horizontal intertwining is reminiscent of discover, the vertical twining in civilization and society, and of the 'leaves' in nature. It also, like inhibit, contains none of the outer circle.
TIME
There be a circle here. Also note the unknown motif on the left (!) and a 'grown up' version of it on the right (!!) which bears a marked resemblance to stimulate (!!!). I hope to get more out of this one in the future. Renae interpreted it as the sun moving across the sky, which probably makes a great deal more sense than what Iım thinking.
TRADITION
Key, I think, for interpreting both the up/down/parent/child and the unknown motif, in the context of one of the most important parts of Narayani society.
TRANSFORM
More vertical repetition of the unknown motif, as in tradition. One form becomes another, connected by an arc. The strong similarity to tradition makes me think that this symbol could be referring to transformation over generations, a sort of evolution or change, which is both a part of life and a danger on a world as delicate as Narayan.
VOID
A vast, empty wave, seeming to define by its negative space a circle. If the void is negative space, then the cicle, the pod--containing society--is positive.
WEAVE
Obviously a very important symbol. A pod sprouts growing roots. This symbol contains none of the outer circle; what I found interesting is that the symbol for society can be neatly contained in that circle if it is shrunk, which is a wonderful metaphor. The weaving supports society. Indeed, because of the circular format, any symbol, if made half-size, can fit in there (or in several other symbols, but here it has extra symbolism, pardon the pun).
WISDOM
Two unknown motifs. One reaches out to the other, as if it wishes to know.

 

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