Geometrically Ordered Design: The Loneliest One

April 14th, 2012  |  Published in April 2012, Features

Medieval manuscript depicting God as the Geometer.


“You cannot conceive the many without the one.”


Since this is my first article pertaining to the design field, it may aide the reader to know how to distinguish art from design.  Design in essence cannot be accomplished without specific degrees of control, and almost always has a definitive point to make. How well the ‘point’ can be made is attributed to how well the design was carried out. This cannot be said about art. Art can be about anything or nothing at all, which makes design a subdivision of art. In this respect design can be seen as separate from other art forms, in that there is a singular goal in the mind of the designer. In order to understand any art form at its core, the viewer must understand visual acoustics on an elementary level. The level I have chosen to start with is numbers and their relationships with each other through geometry and proportion. Design cannot be truly understood without attaining this knowledge. Not only is this the basis for every art form, but it is also the architecture of the natural world. Also to aide the reader, I will be referencing specific visual instances where the number or geometry in question can be better understood.

As stated in my previous article ‘Design Intervention’, the goal of these next few articles will be dedicated specifically to understanding our numerical system through the process of sacred geometry. I will be breaking down each of the single digit numbers from 1-9, and end with zero. Of course, if we are talking about numbers, the best place to start is technically zero, but I think saving the best for last is appropriate for this kind of approach.

As for the number one, what can be said that isn’t already common knowledge? It implies wholeness, singularity, but at the same time, unity. In this manner, one is unique. It is the only number that appears to be all by itself. Mathematically speaking, it is the beginning of the numerical sequence, which seeks its end at 9, and its resurrection at 10 (which is again zero, but we’ll get to that in the article on zero). The problem with one is that it is difficult to grasp with any material sensuality. What is a singular thing? Are there any singular things? Even when we attempt to conceive of something that appears as singular, our minds find a way to divide it into infinity.

Imagine, for example, a small black marble. At first we might think we are imagining a singular object, but the mind is not fooled. We know that inside this object are countless atoms forged together in beautiful synchronicity. We also know that this marble must be within an environment, and cannot exist in a vacuum. The placement of the environment alone would destroy any notion of singularity. How can we visualize what one really is? According to our modern view of dimensionality, one symbolizes the ‘point’, which is arguably dimensionless. What does the point symbolize? Time, and thusly space since they are both relative. The very root of our physical existence is the perception of time.  This has been long argued, and even Stephen Hawking at one point got this wrong (although he eventually attributed the point to time). Time is technically where dimensionality takes its form on the material plane, and this is why time and space are indeed relative. It is the cosmic glue that binds all of creation into singularity. This might be why we have such difficulty gathering a mental picture of what ‘one’ looks like. It’s more of an idea or thought than any one object can possibly be. Let us again suppose that we absolutely had to attach a shape to the number one. What would it be?

This brings us to the circle. As simple as many people think the circle may be, it has always been shrouded in great mystery. Even the ancient philosophers knew that the circle (or sphere in the third dimension) contained within it, all subsequent shapes and forms. They referred to the one by many names such as The Seed, The Foundation, The Truth, and many others. To them it was, and still is, the womb of all creation. Even the word universe means “one turn” in Latin referencing the circle. Before my experience, described in the previous article, I never gave the circle much thought. I was always taught in school that a circle is the way it is, just because. As a graphic designer, I never really took the time to admire its precision, its elegance. Deep down I always knew there was something about the circle that was timeless, since its importance in art and design has always been present (See images embedded in the article). Nature seems to have a way of hiding these things in plain sight until its viewer is ready. Most writers would attribute this to dramatic irony.

To construct a perfect circle, we might attempt to draw it freehand as the great Florentine painter Giotto once did, or we could simply use a compass. I would advise the later. I would also advise anyone who hasn’t handled a compass recently, to pick one up at once and start experimenting with it. This device, coupled with the straight edge, have a way of literally prying open the human mind to certain truths that would otherwise go unnoticed. I cannot express how important participation is in this exercise.

So now that we have our perfect circle in front of us, let us examine its perfection. It expands outward from the central ‘nowhere’ of its dimensionless middle point (expressed by the point of the compass) towards the infinity of its equilateral circumference. There are no sides, and thus no place for the eye to rest. Forever in motion, yet motionless. Its radius and circumference are never measurable at the same time due to the ever elusive transcendental value know simply as “Pi”, or 3.1415926…As you open your compass to create the circle, realize that you are repeating the first principle of creation, the opening of light/space/time and power in all directions. It’s a very powerful experience when you stop and think about it. I always think of the Biblical command “Let there be Light.” Or you may think of the dimensionless Brahma of Hindu mythology speaking the word Aham or “I Am”. In essence, the circle represents that part of ourselves that we know to be infinite, our spirit.

Let us take into consideration how the number one reacts in certain mathematical arenas. Anytime another number is multiplied by unity it remains itself (4 X 1 =4). The same can be said for any number dividing itself by unity (6 / 1 = 6). This means that the one preserves the identity of all that it encounters. It is a silent force, supporting all that is: the common denominator of the universe. When allowed to ‘breath’ in of itself, all subsequent numbers are created (111111111 X 111111111 = 12345678987654321). The one in addition to itself is said to be responsible for duality (1 + 1 = 2). I will talk more about this in my article on the number two.

There is much more on this subject that I cannot explain in such a short segment of writing, but hopefully I captured your interest for at least a brief moment. For those of you in whom I have sparked an interest, I will conclude with a list of suggested reading. However, please note that once you are taken down this path of enlightenment you can never see the world the same again, or so it would seem.


Suggested Reading List:

“The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life: Vol 1 & 2” by Drunvalo Melchizedek

“A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe” by Michael S. Schneider

“The Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean” by Doreal

–Dustin Pike

Comments are closed.