I grew up with this peace sign:
And this peace symbol:
That peace sign has older meanings: it’s an all-purpose gesture of disrespect, and it’s Churchill’s “V for Victory.” That peace symbol comes from Gerald Holtom’s “Nuclear Disarmament” symbol. It you know their past, they’re limited symbols.
But the history of those symbols may add to their power. I like knowing that a gesture of military victory now says coexistence is more important than conquering, that a design to indicate opposition to one kind of war is now opposition to all kinds of war.
For purists, there are older symbols. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share Noah’s dove carrying an olive branch. Olives were sacred to Athena—the wise value peace. In Asia, the white crane flies where peace reigns.
There will be newer symbols, because humans are symbol-makers. I love Grey’s suggestion that bread should be a peace sign: what’s more peaceful than sharing food? Flatbread, rice cakes, and corn tortillas can be circles—maybe that’ll inspire a new peace sign, perhaps something like the Pax Cultura symbol:
All I know is I want to share the sushi of peace.
No conclusions. But the next time I make a pizza, I may make a peace symbol of some form on its top.
There’s a nice collection of peace symbol clip art here.