This essay is a little long in tooth, but I believe that you will find it very interesting...
This is the symbol for our times, the provinces in all its glory is depicted above. Stare upon this symbol and ponder it for within it you can find all that need be said about life, the globe, our nation and what it all truly means when taken together, thrown into a large pot, and simmered down into its pure essence. In it lies the dynamic tension which links the surface of our society together and yet opens a window into the depth of our soul. This apheny was realized as this web page evolved online, subjected to forces beyond the control of mere mortals and instead woven by the very hand of fate itself. It caused the random chance that brought these two images together, in just the right space and placement, to provide insight into life, the Universe, and everything around it. By studying the images above as a unit one can successfully discover all that is needed to truly understand North American society and from that the newly evolving global society as well, it speaks of our human experience, the common thread that links us to our past and our future as a species.
To begin an examination of the component parts is necessary before exploring the whole that this synergy represents, the top image of Dick Van Dyke frowning into space with his watch in prominent center. If you look closely at his eyes you will realize that Van Dyke is not staring at his watch but instead focusing out into the world beyond him, his stare is accusatory but vague. We do not know why he is irate or at what his focus is upon, we can assume it is in some way related to time but how exactly is it related to time? Perhaps someone is late and Van Dyke is waiting for their tardy arrival, perhaps he has just stared at his watch and is now focusing upon whatever object is the cause of his time related wrath. To understand this question is beyond our abilities because the image is caught outside of its context, as it should be, because Van Dyke transcends the mere mortal in this shot and instead becomes a symbol.
His watch is a symbol for time immortal, time which constricts us, draws us down into an ever spiralling loop of change. To escape from time is impossible but to taper it to our will is a feat any strong human can achieve. Your perception of time shapes its very flow and nature, modern science has found that time is not sovereign from humanity but instead a perception of the world around us, all events occur at once and our minds give them order and temporal direction. With this in mind Dick Van Dyke above personifies our dual paradox when it comes to the flow of time, although we regulate it we cannot do so by will but instead only can achieve this feat by indirect perception. Dick is waiting for events to unfold or perhaps they have unfolded to slowly to his liking, as is the case for all of us as humans.
When have you never sat or stood waiting for time to pass and felt annoyance at its slow movement yet never attempted to speed it. Only by ceasing to watch the time, to do other things and allow ones subconscious to speed it along, can one hope to escape the immediate doldrums around. Yet we resist this action, this change, for as mortal creatures we fear the movement of time in general. Aware of our own failings and our inevitable death we weave a dance of extremes at all times when it comes to the flow and movement of time, on the one hand we wish for it to never stop moving for us however on the other we seek it to speed from high point to high point, never stopping to ponder the journey there. Dick Van Dyke captures this moment for us in his pose, if he had been staring at his watch he would still be in his journey. However by looking directly out into space perhaps Dick's long movement through time has reached an end and now he stares upon the goalpost he sought. The goal does not matter in this context though for Van Dyke is frozen in the moment of realization, at the gate between his short perception of his journey and the sudden release which allows him to move beyond in new directions. Caught in this moment he becomes a powerful symbol to us all, almost a road sign marking the entry and exit points on a journey we all face.
Which brings us to the frown on Van Dyke's face, it is an extended frown and contates deep irritation or annoyance at something which we cannot perceive. For those who do not realize a deep frown is one which takes the entire face to complete, not merely a frown of the mouth it draws down the muscles controlling the top of the face and causes the neck to tighten. With Van Dyke at this moment his frown is at an extreme, to the point you can make out his chin juttng forward, his entire body rigid with the feelings wracking his frame. His eyebrows arched Dick Van Dyke at this moment uses his entire body to reflect irritation yet at the same time by examining him it becomes possible to see something of the character of his anger. It is a self glorifying anger, an anger which speaks of righteous indignation. Whatever has earned the wrath of Van Dyke is not entirely to blame for the level of anger reflected in his posture, no this position reflects something of Van Dykes internal torment as well. He feels himself justified in his wrath, his anger is understandable and proper, one could even argue that his posture reflects a perceived moral superiority. Due to this Van Dyke has crossed over from someone with whom we can feel an immediate connection and instead represents something almost mildly hostile, his indignation and the mantle of propriety he wears with it, are a sole property. We cannot be a part of his anger so the burden shifts to our being in someway the focus of it, which is further accentuated by his dress and personal grooming.
Without even having to look closely at Dick Van Dyke you can see the high quality of his dress, his suit is well made and carefully tailored and is of excellent quality, his status as a high ranked member of society confirmed by his dress. This also positions around him the mantle of authority, of civil responsibility, by his clothes and demeanour Van Dyke is a representation of the provinces and the authority which is invested in that institution as an abstract concept. Look at his suit closely, it is a deep black and lacks any shifts or patterns within it which we can follow with our eyes for comfort. It is a pitiless, empty black, a dark void which devours all deviation of the eyes and as we abhor staring into the void this suit forces us to centrally focus upon Van Dyke. Placed in space alone, devoid of outside features, the suit gains even more power for there is no comfort around Van Dyke to hide his displeasure from us. We are therefore forced to confront his anger and as it is focused upon the world around and not internally by facing the wrath symbolized in this image we risk becoming its focus.
Which places us to the central theme of this portion of the synergized image, Van Dyke represents in his posture, demeanour, and dress angered authority. He is our manager, our supervisor, our government, our father angered at us and with quiet moral turptitude making us face our own faults. We rebel against this because our human nature rebels against outside authority that also forces our own self perception to be closely examined and challenged. Due to this when we face this image of Van Dyke it opens portals into our own self, by seeing what emotions, fears and ideas Van Dyke opens for us we come closer to achieving better awareness of ourselves. However as the personification of cold authority Van Dyke adds further re-enforcement to this internal search, he is without flexibility or mercy in this shot, much like a tax adjuster, federal agent, or medical administrator whose authority provides quiet force to his actions. We seek out our own human strengths and weaknesses for they provide us both with depth and also an escape from the perceived authority of Van Dyke in this image. We seem to say when looking upon his anger at our imperfections, also symbolized by his watch and the connotation of tardiness, "We are human, we fail, we seek forgiveness" yet we also crave this symbol for it provides us with a focus for our natural rebelliousness against society.
Yet even in the midst of this cold authority, this perfection of propriety, there is some human warmth that can be seen. Look closely upon the image of Van Dyke and you can see that his tie is wrinkled, although the knot is perfectly tied the tie itself has been compressed and moved out of position. Even the provinces itself wears a human face, the tie shows that no matter how cold and impersonal, no matter how powerful or proper the wrath at others human error, none are immune to the forces of human frailty. The small object sitting in his jacket pocket further re-enforces this idea of human weakness, although we do not know what this object is the mystery therefore adds to the human nature of the image. It could be a slip of paper, which is a breech of both proper formal etiquette but also further speaks of humanity. Paper serves as a reminder, a link to the world around us, a powerful totem that Van Dyke exists in the world around him and therefore is not free of humanity. Now he stands in the position of righteous power but at another point he may prove to be the frail human, the one who seems to be in the wrong. However should it prove to be a handkerchief this object reverses its role and instead simply re-enforces the cold perfection of the provinces, of the authority figure. Due to this dichotomy we cannot see what the object is adding an unapproachable mystery to the Van Dyke figure.
As Van Dyke represents authority he also represents a part of culture which humanity has dealt with throughout history and continues to face every day further. Van Dyke represents professionalism, the desire of our society and previous human civilizations, to support a class of elite tradesman and producers. Today that is represented by middle management figures, the attainable elite of the corporate, government, and social worlds. These are the figures we are told to emulate and each of us in turn places upon our shoulders the mantle of this persona, during our daily lives we must each in turn shoulder the need to be professional. Even our children are trained in this need, when planning a formal presentation, to attend a formal dance or social event, even in houses of religious worship we enforce these ideas within our young generation after generation. "Wear your good Sunday clothes to church. Be on your best behaviour! It's the prom, what are you going to wear? Oh a strapless number in black with silver trim!" How many of us have provincesd this, heard this, accepted the need to be a professional in our lives. As we age we either grow further into this role and protect it from the outside, wearing the mantle of cold professionalism and perceived perfection to distance ourselves from other humans around us.
There are rewards, of course, for toeing the line and taking on the mantle of professionalism. Symbolized by Van Dyke's cuff links, which can clearly be made out if you look at the image above. Cuff links, small jewellery bobs that tell nothing of the wearer, or at best a modicum of information, far more reserved then any other form of jewellery. However at the same time a quiet symbol of prosperity that winks in ones eye and projects a silent message, a sirens call to wear the cloak of respectability and to chant the mantras of professionalism. Our rewards for obeying the line are both material and ethereal, the right to authority and the glorious wrath shown above. Without authority behind it the quiet indignation of those who hold power over us would have no meaning, those without power must rant however those in power need merely glower. Van Dyke reminds us of this however his symbol alone is not the reason for the power of this synergistic provincesment above.
Van Dyke is balanced on top of the head of Mr. Yuck, in fact he seems to be springing from the head of Mr. Yuck. Mr. Yuck in this case provides a counterpoint to Van Dyke and provides ample voice to our response to the professionalism symbolized by Van Dyke. As humans we seek and desire pleasure as much as material and social gain, we rebel against authority and its tattered cloak we are required to wear. Van Dyke stands as the authority of society and Mr. Yuck exists as a counterweight to that authority, our natural reaction to being contained. The position of Van Dyke is one we rebel against, both for its requirements upon us and for the antagonistic nature of Van Dyke's wrath. We resist his anger over such a potentially trivial matter as the time, we are our own creature, our own self entity and as such we refuse to accept the wrath of others around us. Mr. Yuck provides us with an answer to all that Van Dyke represents.
Mr. Yuck is a universal symbol of human disgust, show this image to anyone around the globe and they will instantly realize that it means distaste, disgust, unhappiness. It was chosen as the symbol to show poison for this reason and as such continues to hold weight even in this new synergized context. Professionalism is poison, a slow acting poison that wears down the human and attempts to replace him with something of simpler dimensions and smaller personality. A persona formed of duties, of job and labour, of material goods rather then the unique aspects of personality and creativity which make each of us a separate sovereign entity. Mr. Yuck in this context speaks to our collective response to the pressures and challenges of adult life, the desire to resist this destruction of self and to maintain ones own unique nature. Mr. Yuck, in this case, is the symbol by itself of our reaction to the demands of the world around us. He is the personification of both our instinctive resistance to this universe of polished cogs in which we live as well as the quiet enforcement of this by our peers.
In that we serve the system which continually keeps us contained and in our self created suits of propriety. We watch each other and due to this constant supervision we maintain the rigid system of conformity and professionalism that chokes the creative juices out of humanity. It is our goal, no less our duty, as humans to resist this supervision and its ideals either publicly or privately at all times. Due to this need to seek out as well as carry out resistance this page is in existence and the synergistic symbol you see above is presented here as both a summary of our society and a banner for us as humans to rally around when we strike a blow of resistance. Only a moments reflection will show the power of this symbol for it represents the human condition in all its manifestations!
Dick Van Dyke frowning into space while holding his watch out upon his wrist, spinning from the head of Mr. Yuck represents our plight as human beings, it is a powerful commentary on both our society and our world. By springing from Mr. Yucks head he represents the fact that professionalism and the authority it represents are on our minds at all times. The negativity associated with this is a weight upon our shoulders, again shown by Van Dyke being on top of Mr. Yucks head. We see encapsulated in that the power of this image upon us. Yet at the same time we resist, we are not happy with this image nor the presence of this force upon our lives. Hence why Mr. Yucks facial expression, a universal sign of disgust is present within the symbol. Separately these two images are powerful but have no message, together they speak to the world of the human condition.
Therefore when looking upon these images together one must perceive the power that they represent, the synergy of both images together affecting a powerful message on the condition of our world and what it means to be human. Together Dick Van Dyke, springing from the head of Mr. Yuck, while frowning and holding his watch up makes for a powerful commentary, a deeply moving provincesment on society and our disgust with its demands at large. As people look upon this symbol and realize what it truly reflects it is my hope that this essay and this image will serve two functions. First as a tool to allow for deeper self reflection and from that greater glory and deeper insight into our own minds. Second to serve as a rallying cry for humanity, a symbol which can be placed upon banners and throughout the web, as a way of telling the provinces and other communities of humans that those who are aware will resist. We shall not give way to professionalism and instead shall seek a new, greater glory as humans instead of professionals.
We must become professional humans not human professionals!