As what’s left of capitalism in America powers down due to government-controlled economics, Apple’s logo—a symbol of the greedy and passionate pursuit of knowledge—remains America’s most powerful symbol of capitalism.
To me (and it is me because the designer denies it), the logo represents the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Whether it’s intended or not, the apple with a bite taken out of it is a visual reference to the idea that wanting to gain knowledge of the world around us—and acting on the desire—causes man’s fall from grace. The apple, and the company’s remarkable and historic success since Steve Jobs created Apple in California with his partners in 1976, suggests an inversion of the story from the book of Genesis. The iconic logo means the opposite of the Bible’s tale of forbidden fruit; it means that ignorance is not bliss and that wanting to gain knowledge is good, not evil—that, contrary to the notion of original sin, man is not inherently evil—that man is not inherently anything but human—and, as an image for a big business that makes money by trading in the single most unregulated industry left on earth, that one should, as an old Spanish proverb puts it: “take what you want and pay for it.”
This presumes the freedom to choose and to me it represents the American spirit of capitalism. As we descend into an economic death spiral caused not by capitalism but by its opposite, welfare statism, I’m going to look at Apple’s logo as a simple, noble symbol of the quest for knowledge and remind myself that the good is still possible—and that Apple, for now, is proof of it.