Cereals seem to have a persistent influence on the symbolism with which we try to shape reality: Sting deleriously sings ‘Among the fields of gold‘, Russell Crowe is pictured in an idyllic scene unto his waist in a cereal field in the movie ‘the Gladiator’, also the cereal prices remain an indication for world trade and perspectives. The mentioned symbolism is expressed in words, builds our paradigm and enters our debates about sustainability.

Our languages are evolving, some thoughts or references to reality in our language disappear or temporarily fade away. How can we look at the evolution of language from the perspective of sustainability? Below a possible train of thought is presented…

It is not accidentally that cereals have a symbolic influence via languages. I think that our diet creates an important link betwene us and the earth, reality and our being. Our diet mainly consists of cereals. Direct and indirect: by consuming creal products, or by consuming meat. 

For our diet we are very dependent on fossil fuels and the input of nutrients. Hence (Or: nevertheless), we are trying to make our production processes more efficient. I hope this more efficient way of producing is part of a transition to a more sustainable way of living. However, i don’t see that happen, with Jevon’s Paradox and the persistent symbolism of cereals in mind.

For a transition towards a sustainable way of living we need a change and broadening of our symbolism. In that way we can make room for our imaginary side to shape reality. We really need that side to come up with really creative and sustainable solutions.   

Do you know more examples in which cereals have symbolic meaning?

Or do you know examples of symbolic use of language from cultures where cereals are not that important in the diet?

Does anyone have ideas to guide and support our thoughts in regard to this subject?