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The Realize! Logo
As with any good symbol, there is more to the
Realize! logo than at first meets the eye.

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The Condensed Version

The  Realize!  logo's two elements present the fusion of Leonardo's paramount image of humanity with the mystical symbol of the Mandala--the Quartered Circle.

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The forepart of the logo is derived from Leonardo da Vinci's well-known drawing referred to as The Vitruvian Man.  Found in Leonardo's notebooks, this study in proportion is based on the book De Architectura by Vitruvius.  The drawing illustrates not only the proportions of the human figure, but Vitruvius relates these proportions to the building of ancient temples.  Leonardo's own writings take this thinking one step further: he sees Man as the microcosm of the universe.

But Leonardo's drawing has transcended its original purpose as an exercise in proportion and an expression of philosophy, and has come to stand for the entire humanistic impulse of the Renaissance, that time when the ultimate concern of scholars and artists shifted from the next world to this one, and interest in the sciences came to share equal footing with religion, art, music, and literature.

Leonardo's humanism was not the formalized "secular humanism" of the 20th century, which constitutes a sort of quasi-religion.  It is quite simply the exuberance of youth, the belief that with enough thinking and enough hard work, humans can overcome almost any obstacle.  It is an admirable, if somewhat disproved, way of thinking.  The Renaissance Men were mostly right, but something was missing...

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Behind The Vitruvian Man is a symbol less well known yet more universally found.  It is the Quartered Circle, here rendered in a style inspired by rock inscriptions found on every inhabited continent.  It can also be found, in more sophisticated cultures, as the center of the Celtic cross, and as the basic form of the Buddhist mandala.

Chumash rock art .......... A Celtic Cross .......... A Tibetan Mandala

So widespread is the image of the quartered circle that Swiss psychologist Carl Jung says it represents the Self--it is the very shape of the Soul.

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In the system of astronomical symbols (above), the quartered circle represents the earth.  The reasoning is simple: imagine you are standing on a vast plain, with nothing to block your view of the horizon.  That horizon, then, would appear to you as a great circle.  And anything on the plane of the plain could be plotted in relation to you using a simple grid composed of the x and the y axes (left).

So the quartered circle can be seen as representing not only the Earth, but the individual's place on it.  This may be part of the reason that it has had such a universal appeal.

Elsewhere I discuss the symbols of various religions, pointing out that each indicates balance or centeredness.  In harmony with all these great symbols, this quartered circle, too, can take its place as the symbol for Neo-Perennialism.  It is an image of the Earth from a heavenly (skyward) perspective, and as such it exactly positions the human in the cosmos.

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If the simple quartered circle will suffice as a symbol for Neo-Perennialism, why have I added the Vitruvian Man to the logo used for this website?  Well, the mission of Realize! goes beyond the proclamation of Neo-Perennialism.  It also encourages people to develop all of their faculties, through the courses in The Academy, for example, or by appreciation of the images in The Gallery.  The Renaissance Man was, after all, merely a man, but one who had developed his faculties to the fullest.  As a teacher, my goal is to help each of my students (and friends!) to do nothing less: to become the most complete human beings they can be.

This is the promise extended by our logo.


Contents (C) 2006 James Baquet
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Read More

Online:

On Leonardo's Vitruvian Man (for access in China)

A passage from Vitruvius, with a mystical interpretation

On Secular Humanism (for access in China)

A page of Mandala links

Quotes from  Jung about Mandalas

An essay on Jung and Mandalas

Offline:

References to come

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