I’m afraid that my response, “they mean that you don’t end up tripping up over the cord,” didn’t satisfy this person.
Something completely made up, like: “one knot represents the divinity of Christ, the other the humanity of Christ, and the cincture joins the two together”, would have been much more to this person’s liking.
There is something in our English/Anglican/Kiwi psyche that grasps quickly onto the shallow answers of allegory. No need to go deeper. Question answered. The bread means this. And only this. The candle represents that. And only that. This robe signifies this. And only this. Next question.
I’ve seen it in New Zealand’s flag “debate”. We’ve ended up with four options to vote on that are easily explained. This means this. That means that. Flag done.
There’s nothing wrong with allegory, of course, if depth is not being sought. CS Lewis loathed his Narnia books being described as allegory. He saw them as the Christian story being retold in a fantasy world. Logos for businesses need only be at the level of allegory. Prime Minister John Key regularly speaks of New Zealand as a brand. A flag for brand New Zealand, then, is to be a logo that will increase our brand recognition. And sales.
New Zealanders will choose from one of the four options (above) in a first referendum, and then the winner of that will be run off against the current flag in a second referendum. Mathematicians, following choice architecture (aka behavioral economics or nudge theory) predict the black-and-white fern design (the one closest to John Key’s original wish) will win the first vote. Successful businessman John Key will be well-aware of this oft-used advertising/business approach. The Hypnoflag is so bad it makes the others look OK. Then those who like the fern and stars will split that vote, and the one closest to John Key’s original wish will come up the middle.
But there is another dynamic. Those who want to retain the current flag may go out in droves and vote for the Hypnoflag knowing that should that win, it will inevitably lose against the current flag.
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