Carvings by the Dine, photo by Kai Staats

Past & Present
Humans have for millennia used signs and symbols to provide directions for travelers, to record financial transactions, to invite or banish spirits, and to tell stories. Some of these sign systems evolved into written language, as with the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, pre-Classical Sanskrit, and the logosyllabic system of the Mayans of meso-America.

Hundreds, in some cases more than a thousand years after their creation, the paintings of the historic Native Americans invoke awe, even fear among the modern peoples of the American Southwest. Why?

Carl Jung, a student of Sigmund Freud, believed that certain symbols invoke an ancient response, something intrinsic to the human experience that goes back to the very first time when humans gathered, organized, and communed. These ancient symbols may therefore have a universal meaning, the ability to be recognized, to invoke an emotional response, by peoples of completely difference cultural and linguistic foundations—without explanation.

Some of Hollywood’s most successful movies use symbols to draw viewers deep into the adventure and then leave them gasping, “Could it be true?” Myriad riddles and clues in the form of cryptic symbols guided Indiana Jones to the Temple of Doom, Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code, Ben Gates in National Treasure; Sherlock Holmes, and James Bond.

Universal signs and symbols transcend the barriers of language, ethnicity, and time, with meanings recognized by people independent of their cultural foundation. Even with the rise of English as a dominant language in international commerce and travel, and as metropolitan areas welcome speakers of a greater diversity of language foundations, it is symbols that continue to grow as the simplest, most efficient, powerful means of attracting attention and conveying information. Posters, billboards, shop signs, web pages, and computer software applications are increasingly using symbols as means of conveying instruction, direction, and meaning. Simply reading ‘LONDON UNDERGROUND’, STOP, NO SMOKING, TOILET, ATM, RAILROAD CROSSING, and CAFE; HOME, RELOAD, FORWARD, and BACK invokes clear images of symbols that have become an integral part of our lives.

The Passing of a Milestone
A little more than ten years ago, 50% of the population of the world had not yet used a telephone. At the close of 2008, the number of mobile phone users is estimated to be 60% of the population of the planet, or 4 billion people.*

To fully embrace this powerful transition requires a break from traditional analog thinking. Digital communication does not merely involve increasing the speed at which information moves, and reducing the time required to locate data. When fully embraced, digital communication may enable a new kind of communication, even a new language designed to fully integrate and move information across a global digital network.

Time for a New Kind of Communication
iConji is not limited to the present, for its power in a global context grows over time, the breadth of users giving rise to a depth of knowledge of the human experience. iConji is not intended to replace native written languages. Rather, it offers a means by which individuals may communicate quickly, succinctly, and with the freedom of a language that has few rules and almost no limitations. iConji will evolve to be used in ways it’s inventors never anticipated.

* The Guardian, UK

Introduction | History | The Team | Evolution of Human Language | iConji @ Wikipedia |