In very shape of Citgo sign, a reach for the divine

None of the writers commenting on the Citgo sign (“Icon or eyesore,” Letters, March 11) made reference to how uncannily popular it is among us “folks,” as the sign’s detractor, Ronald Lee Fleming, refers to us in a letter that dismisses the sign as “corporate effrontery.”

We love it for reasons that have nothing to do with corporations or advertising. We love it as a larger-than-life work of public art, right where it is. We love it for the impeccability of its design. And, knowing that “CIT” is short for city, we love it as a cheer for Boston, our hometown.

But, far more important, we love it for the hidden symbolism of its geometry, of which Arthur King, its designer, might have been, like most of us, only subliminally aware: Four, as with the coordinates, is often seen as the number of the phenomenal world; three is the number of the divine. So the sign is most significantly a subtle but powerful call for humanity to realize its function, now, at this critical moment in time and space, as the vehicle by which the divine becomes conscious on Earth.


John Hagan