Plato considered geometry and number as the most reduced and essential, and therefore the ideal, philosophical language. But it is only by virtue of functioning at a certain ‘level’ of reality that geometry and number can become a vehicle for philosophic contemplation. Greek philosophy defined this notion of levels, so useful in our thinking, distinguishing the ‘typal‘ and the ‘archtypal‘. Following the indication given by Egyptian wall reliefs, which are laid out in three registers, an upper, a middle and a lower, we can define a third level, the ‘ectypal‘, situated between the archtypal and typal.
To see how these operate, let us take an example of a tangible thing, such as the bridle of a horse. This bridal can have a number of forms, materials, sizes, colours, uses, all of which are bridals. The bridal considered in this way, is typal; it is existing, diverse and variable. But on another level there is the idea or the form of the bridal, the guiding model of all bridals. This is an unmanifest, pure, formal idea and its level is ectypal. But yet above this there is an archtypal level which is that of the principal or power-activity, that is a process which the ectypal form and typal example of the bridal only represent. The archtypal is concerned with universal processes or dynamic patterns which can be considered independently of any structure or material form