Sunday, August 16, 2009

The full spectrum

The rainbow has been a gay pride symbol since 1978. Gilbert Baker of San Francisco first developed it. Some suspect the Wizard of Oz had something to do with this. The song "Over the Rainbow" I find resonates very deeply with this struggle (not to mention how idolized Judy Garland was by the gay community). Today the flag simply represents diversity. Originally it had eight colors, each of which was symbolic. The original eight colors were hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, violet. Pink = sexuality, Red = life, Orange = healing, Yellow = sunshine, Green = nature, Turquoise = art/magic, Indigo = serenity/harmony, Violet = Spirit. Due to fabric constraints it was reduced to seven minus the pink. This quickly morphed into the six color flag that is common today, which has red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

If you are observant you will notice that our design does not match any of the above sequences. I must admit this was not intentionally done. When we first designed it we assumed the popular symbol simply followed the naturally occurring color sequence, popularly remember as Roy G. Biv (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet), or the more proper CMYK (red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and violet). We chose the former for aesthetic reasons. In Catholic culture I am sure each color can easily represent a different meaning, however what struck me more was the numeric significance.

Two things: First off, this blog's premise is that 1) Homosexuality is unnatural 2) No one has the complete picture. Secondly, According to Thomistic understanding (and Aristotelian understanding before that), moral virtue is the median between two extremes. It requires proper quantity and kind. Therefore any addition or subtraction leads to vice and/or an improper hierarchy, and improper order leads to vice. In the original flag there is not only an improper order, since it doesn't follow the naturally occurring rainbow (there is no blue), it also has an additional color: pink. Hot pink actually. The subsequent flag due to the lack of that color in fabrics still had an improper order (still no blue) and finally the modern flag has only SIX colors. It is missing indigo or cyan depending on which rainbow you go by. In Jewish numerology the number six is the number of incompleteness. Seven, on the other hand, is the number of completeness, of fullness.

Seven is a unique number that occurs in nature in various ways beyond just the primary colors. There are seven days in a week and what's really cool is how there are seven primary notes in a scale (an octave is formed by the repetition of a higher pitched first note of a scale). In Catholicism there are seven sacraments and seven capital virtues that fight against seven vices. Need I say more about that?

When it comes to the symbolism of the colors themselves, note that the modern flag no longer contains the colors for "serenity" or "art". I'm not sure if the blue is meant to symbolize something; perhaps it symbolizes both; if it doesn't, that's pretty significant. In either case the color for "sexuality" is removed. This perhaps is most symbolic because in reality homosexuality isn't sexuality at all. True sexuality is that which is unitive and procreative. Intentional disregard for these ends in the use of the sexual faculties in a way denies the activity the right to be even labeled "sexual". Today that term more often simply means "involving aroused genitals of one or more people". The teleology of sexuality has been usurped in people's minds by a motivation for its by-product (sexual arousal), making them no longer cognizant of its true end, which is far superior in every dimension to any consequent personal satisfaction gained in the process. The subtraction of hot pink from the rainbow ironically indicates that homosexuality isn't really sexuality at all.

I don't believe in coincidences; even something simple can contain vast amounts of meaning. It is significant to me that we try to complete this picture and to do it in the proper order, both literally and figuratively.

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