Logotypes and archetypes

Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. (John 8:58, Douay-Rheims Bible)

When a company or organisation begins operating — whether in a commercial, social, administrative, philanthropic, or cultural context — it will put a great deal of effort, energy, creativity and resource into ‘branding’. A unique and resilient identity is vital if the entity is to successfully conduct its business and/or fulfil its mission.



But building a brand is not just a matter of designing attractive stationery, compelling advertising, a clever logotype, distinctive livery …

St Paul certainly knew about marketing and communications when he made “Christ crucified” the central focus of his preaching (see 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 2:2).

In terms of graphics, the cross (even in its most stylised form) is, after two millennia, recognised by all as the brand — the logotype — of Christianity. Its appeal as a graphic symbol and a decorative device is so powerful that it is worn as jewellery, inked as a tattoo, used as a decor item, and collected by aficionados — even by many who have no Christian belief or affiliation.

But this is far from being the whole story: from St John comes the notion of Jesus as the Logos — the Word (see John 1:1-14).

“Despite the conventional translation as ‘word’, [logos (λόγος)]  is not used for a word in the grammatical sense; instead, the term lexis (λέξις) was used. However, both logos and lexis derive from the same verb legō (λέγω), meaning ‘to count, tell, say, speak’.” (quoted from a Wikipedia article on the subject).

In his Epistle to the Colossians, St Paul refers to Jesus as “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) — which immediately calls to mind two passages:

(1) And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen (see Exodus 33:20-23). For the seasoned skeptic, see what The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible has to say about this.

(2) No one has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him (John 1:18, Darby Bible Translation)

My reason for referring to this account of Moses and God in conversation is that the book of Exodus provides the context in which God says: I Am that I Am (Hebrew: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‎, pronounced Ehyeh asher ehyeh; see Exodus 3:14).

What about the archetypes? Look within … they’re there, and they don’t require explanation, do they?

All philosophies are mental fabrications. There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things (Nagarjuna).


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