Unicorns seem to be all the rage these days. Well, perhaps rage isn’t quite the right word, since the resurgence of interest seems to be as much about peace and positive visions than anything else. It’s interesting to see the wide range of ways the concept and image of the unicorn has been applied lately — from the in-your-face independent journalism of Unicorn Riot to the rolling-in-the-dough success of billion-dollar companies on Fortune’s Unicorn List. When we want to praise someone for their uniqueness, we might call them a unicorn; when we want to dismiss them as being unrealistic, we might do the same. This is a paradox as old as the myth itself.
Most of us are familiar with unicorns as a childhood concept, but the history goes back quite far in the annals of human history. Unicorns as symbols of strength and fierceness figure prominently in many mythologies, historical narratives, and even the Bible (where the unicorn stands in for Christ). In the contemporary era, “the unicorn is a decidedly more magical, gentle creature, running around on rainbows and inspiring millions,” as noted in Wired. The website AllAboutUnicorns.com contains an incredible compendium of images, legends, and links, observing that unicorns “have long enchanted humankind with the symbolism of their grace, finesse, and unconquerable nature.” And Pinterest has more unicorn-related items than you ever thought possible. Indeed, the saturation of unicorns has led to some sardonic expressions:
It’s hard to say where the future of unicorns will take us. But no matter where it all leads, one thing is certain: unicorns may never have actually existed, and yet somehow they’re here to stay. So get on your unicorn … and get your unicorn on!