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Pythagoras

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Whenever he heard a person who was making use of his symbols, he immediately took him into his circle, and made him a friend.
--
Aristoxenus, as quoted in Birth of the Symbol : Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts (2004) by Peter Struck

 
Pythagoras

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Having heard, or more probably read somewhere, in the days when I thought I would be well advised to educate myself, or amuse myself, or stupefy myself, or kill time, that when a man in a forest thinks he is going forward in a straight line, in reality he is going in a circle, I did my best to go in a circle, hoping in this way to go in a straight line. For I stopped being half-witted and became sly, whenever I took the trouble and if I did not go in a rigorously straight line, with my system of going in a circle, at least I did not go in a circle, and that was something.

 
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The process by means of which human beings can arbitrarily make certan things stand for other things may be called the symbolic process. Whenever two or more human beings can communicate with each other, they can, by agreement, make anything stand for anything. For example, here are two symbols:
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Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.

 
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