I think that's very accurate, Mousethief. People do choose symbols for what they think they communicate. You cannot choose a symbol and decide it means what you want it to mean. That is trying to live in the Lewis Carroll world on the other side of the looking glass.
This reminds me of a story. My closest and longest time friend is a television writer who began his career in advertising. Every day, he put on his suit, tie, and wingtips and went to work on Madison Avenue. In his spare time, he wrote some scripts for childrens shows in but he earned a living as a copywriter for a major advertising agency. Despite the good money, he was not satisfied with his life.
His scripts got the attention of Muppeteer Jim Henson and he was offered a job on Sesame Street. He leaped at the opportunity.
When it was time to go to his first meeting with the other writers he looked in his wardrobe for what to wear. Clearly, in the new environment, a suit would be out of place. A suit is a symbol and it would communicate something about himself that he did not believe or want to communicate.
What he selected was a safari jacket and matching pants. When he walked into the conference room at the Childrens Television Worshop he noticed that all of the writers were wearing safari jackets. He had successfully selected the outfit that synbolically stated that he was one of them. He felt far more comfortable in those clothes than he would have in a different sort of costume. What was odd was that all of thos individualists, as a group, had selected from such a narrow range of clothing possibilities. It would seem that their communication of individuality was outward from the group rather than purely an individual statement. I think there is something to be learned from his story.