In choosing a symbol for Unism, we wanted something simple and universal enough to be understood by people of all ages, all around the world. Something that could express the ideas of unity and communion, but was fundamental enough in design to be easily utilized by anyone in support of this philosophy and approach to life.
The symbol of the circle was a perfect fit. Thus, we searched our library and found an excerpt from Juan Eduardo Cirlot’s 1958 work, “A Dictionary of Symbols,” wherein he elucidates on the significance of the circle through his studies in the fields of symbology, hermeneutics, and morphology.
While the definition that Cirlot has composed offers a degree of historical or traditional significance, and thereby legitimacy to the circle as a symbol for Unism, we are not bound by these interpretations, but merely informed by them. We are ultimately inspired to form our own, new interpretations and understandings of what the circle means for Unism, and encourage you to offer your own ideas of what this symbol means to you, and what it could mean to us.
“Circle — At times it is synonymous with the circumference, just as the circumference is often equated with circular movement. But although its general meaning embraces both aspects, there are are some further details which it is important to emphasize. The circle or disk is, very frequently, an emblem of the sun (and indisputably so when it is surrounded by rays).
It also bears a certain relationship to the number ten (symbolizing the return to unity from multiplicity) when it comes to stand for heaven and perfection and sometimes eternity as well. There are profound psychological implications in this particular concept of perfection. As Jung observes, the square, representing the lowest of the composite factorial numbers, symbolizes the pluralist state of man who is not achieve inner unity (perfection) whilst the circle would correspond to this ultimate state of Oneness. The Octagon is the intermediate state between the square and the circle.
Representations of the relationship between the circle and the square are very common in the universal and spiritual world of morphology, notably in the mandalas of India and Tibet and in Chinese emblems. Indeed, according to Chochod, in China, activity, or the masculine principle (Yang), is represented by the white circle (depicting heaven), whereas passivity, the feminine principal (Yin) is denoted by a black square (portraying earth). The white circle stands for energy and celestial influences and the black square for telluric forces. The interaction implicit in dualism is represented by the famous symbol of the Yang-Yin, a circle divided into two equal sections by a sigmoid line across the diameter, the white section (Yang) having a black spot within it, and the black (Yin) a white spot. These two spots signify that there is always something of the feminine in the masculine and something of the masculine in the feminine. The sigmoid line is a symbol of the movement of communication and serve the purpose of implying the idea of rotation, so imparting a dynamic and complementary character to this bipartite symbol.
The law of polarity has been the subject of much thought among Chinese philosophers, who have deduced from this bipolar symbol a series of principles of unquestionable value, which we here transcribe: (a) the quantity of energy distributed throughout the universe is invariable; (b) it consists of the sum of two equal amounts of energy, one positive and active in kind and the other negative and passive; (c) the nature of cosmic phenomena is characterized by the varying proportions of the two modes of energy involved in their creation.
We must also point to the relationship between the circle and the sphere, which is a symbol of the All.”
Hope this offers some food for thought while we continue our explanation of how to use Unism to rehumanize youself, determine your purpose, and see the world for what it really is – so that we can make it what it really should be.