Pins and Personal Logo

I meant to write about this quite some time ago. Before I moved, in fact. However the move to Montreal happened much faster and as a result writing about this topic went to the back burner. But now that things have settled a bit, here we are.

You may be wondering what that is, or at least why I posted it. If you've met me before, or looked at one of my online accounts or business cards, you may recognise it. You've probably already noticed it on this very site. The pin on my jacket is of my personal logo. In this post, I'm going to talk a little about what it is, and what it represents. It's not especially deep, but it may serve as a little window into my mind and interests.

The first thing to note is that this logo is a combination of several elements: the Greek letter psi, a trident, and a fish hook. All of these combine to form the letter J (my first initial). Each of the components of this symbol represents an interest of mine.

Psi is a fairly straightforward symbol. I am an avid fan of psychology and the social sciences. How the mind works is something I find fascinating to study, especially in how it relates to others in the grand network of what we call society. The mind is the domain I feel most strongly connected to, as it is perhaps the subject I find most interesting to learn about, and the one I wish to direct my efforts towards. My greatest ambition is to not only better understand the mind, but to give others pause to explore that venue themselves, and perhaps in the process learn something about themselves, others, and the world they live in. Video games have a unique place in how they can affect people, both emotionally and intellectually. That is a power I wish to harness and use for the betterment of mankind, even in the most seemingly mundane ways.

The second component I mentioned was the trident. This is more thematic than the other components. Simply put, I really like water. Blue is my favourite colour, I always played with Poseidon in Age of Mythology, most of my favourite animals growing up were aquatic, and at one time I thought I wanted to become a marine biologist. You should have seen my rooms prior to moving. The first was completely covered in dolphins and aquatic themes (I even painted the room with that in mind), and the second had an underwater wallpaper across a sizeable chunk of the room. See below:

Yeah, I really liked aquatic stuff. I still do, though I'm perhaps not as obsessed as I once was. Nonetheless, a lot of things about water I find relate to me. Calmness, going with the flow, adapting to one's surroundings, knowing how to find the most effective path, playing the long game (think erosion)... I think there is a lot to be said for having a "watery" temperament, as opposed to a fiery one (same with the other elements; that reminds me, maybe I should toss my idea of the elemental personality types up here some time).

The last aspect is the hook. At first glance, this could very easily be tied in with the trident aspect, and that wouldn't be inaccurate. But it also wouldn't be accurate to just stop there. A big part of the hook's symbolism related to interpersonal relations and the idea of debate and tactics. I've always been a big fan of debate and discussions. My father was a lawyer and my grandfather a diplomat/real estate agent, so I guess it's something of a hereditary predisposition. One of the ideas I value highly is the that of letting your target come to you (i.e. baiting). It simply makes tactical sense to prompt your subject to spend their efforts coming to you. When done correctly I've found it to be far more effective than any offense, and as such I've integrated that philosophy into a lot of my behaviour. I don't impose, I ask. I don't attack, I parry. I let others come to me, and provide what benefits I can to keep them coming. That may sound more devious or creepy than it actually is, and there is a lot more complexity and nuance to the idea than I can properly convey without turning this into a wall of text, but sufficed to say the hook represents my appreciation for the effectiveness of luring techniques.

And finally, they all come together to create a J. A J that stands for Justin. Me. Not much to say there beyond that. So, why put it on a pin? Well, I've always liked wearing self-identifying symbols for one. In high school it was a shark necklace (which now that I think about it, I got while in Montreal, heh), in university it was a Homestuck Virgo pin, and now it's this. Furthermore, I find it to be a good ice breaker (people like to ask about it: see what I mean about the hook thing?). Plus, it shows off my aesthetic and design skills. In a way, this pin allows me to wear my heart on my sleeve. And for someone who doesn't like talking about himself to other people (don't get me wrong, I like talking about myself, but only if the person wants to listen. That's why I like writing here: people only read it if they want to), that's worth slapping a piece of plastic on my chest.

Seems like a lot of consideration to put into a simple symbol, doesn't it? That's just how I roll.

EDIT: There is one thing I neglected to mention, and that's the concept of three. You might notice I mentioned that my symbol is made of three components, and at least two of those components are three-pronged symbols themselves. This isn't accidental. Three is my favourite number (Actually it's 31, but 3 is my favourite single digit), however it's also indicative of another perspective of mine: that of the trichotomy (which you might have guessed is also where I got my user and website name from). More and more I've found modern culture to focus on the ideas of dichotomies. Us versus them mentalities that place everything in black and white, good and evil, right and left. In terms of social and political conditions, polarising radicalism has become more and more rampant lately.

This attitude is something that has always concerned me, but in more recent years I've come to appreciate the importance of dispelling false dichotomies. The term trichotomy is my way of pointing out that there is a path besides any two extremes, and that path is the nuanced approach of the moderate, that can see the values and validity of both sides and pursue solutions that work towards a benefit without alienation. Of course, the various spectrum of opinion are rarely split into just three sides either, but the simple leap from black and white to black and white AND grey is a significant enough distinction that I believe it must be brought back to the common conscience. As someone who holds many liberal views, but finds the radicalism and exclusionary tactics of the extreme left distasteful and even harmful, a big part of my identity is trying to bring to light the moderate perspective of someone who has not been indoctrinated to a single "side", but instead seeks to understand and mediate the two extremes. If that seems like a confusing or overly simplistic statement, rest assured I'll explain myself in due time, as I further populate this blog with my thoughts.