Ideas are indestructible. You can’t kill them. No matter the span of time between two points, age does not hinder or corrode ideas e.g. ideas like Democracy and Nazism are still alive and in people’s minds, believers and non- believers alike, despite the origins of the respective ideologies being in the order of decades/ millenia.
Ancient Rome wiped out the empire of Carthage at the conclusion of the Punic wars and so great was Rome’s hatred of Carthage that it decided its soldiers should level all of Carthage’s structures and place salt on the ruins of the former empire in order for no life to grow there. In assuming ascendancy of the known world at the time and despite its efforts to wipe out its enemy completely, Rome failed because the idea of Carthage remains in our minds as well as the minds of its destroyers. We still remember ancient Carthage and the great Hannibal who destroyed Rome’s armies many times.
The same can be said for Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Despite Hitler’s armies being beaten and Germany being occupied by the allies, the concept of Nazism was never destroyed and it has been reformed in the form of Neo-Nazism. The idea of Neo-Nazism still endures in the countries of the Western world that opposed Hitler and it grows stronger in times of crisis like in the case of Greece’s and its mounting debt due to the Recession. Greece’s extremist party “Golden Dawn” is modelled exactly like Nazism, even its party symbol resembles the Nazi swastika.
By going against the very ideas we oppose, we become a part of it unwittingly; it defines us. As what the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said in his book Beyond good and evil, “He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster.” Sometimes the idea that we hate so much becomes a part of our personality, infecting us like a virus e.g. killing someone who has caused atrocities makes you no better than that person, you become like him. Even Leonardo DiCaprio’s character states that ideas are like viruses in the film Inception.
Ancient Rome persecuted the early Christians and killed a considerable number of them. Likewise, the ancient Catholic church massacred “heretics” and free thinkers who didn’t believe in their ideas. The more Ancient Rome/ ancient Catholic Church tried to wipe out its dissenters, the more Christians/ Atheists thrived and multiplied in number.
Symbols are ideas in material form yet they are almost substantial; they are blots of think, pieces of fabric, paper etc. Were I to burn a flag of the UK on live television, a lot of people would get angry and want to kill me. The same can be said if I desecrated religious icons and money. When we look at the icons and symbols of corporate companies, we instantly know what type of company it represents and its products because the idea and symbol of the company is repeatedly shoved in our faces in the form of adverts. The symbols invade our minds. The ideas behind the country flags, religious icons, money, corporate logos etc affects us greatly depending on what viewpoint we have of the symbol, whether its favourable or unfavourable. Ideas and Symbols are Power assuming the symbols meaning is already established in the mind of the beholder.