We believe that we invent symbols. The truth
is that they invent us; we are their creatures,
shaped by their hard, defining edges.
When soldiers take their oath they are given a coin,
an asimi stamped with the profile of the Autarch. Their acceptance of that coin is their
acceptance of the special duties and burdens of military life--they are soldiers from that
moment, though they may know nothing of the management of arms. I did not know that then,
but it is a profound mistake to believe that we must know of such things to be influenced
by them, and in fact to believe so is to believe in the most debased and superstitious kind
of magic. The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational
people know that things act of themselves or not at all.
The Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolfe.