07 April 2010

Divine Proportion on an Island

If baseball is like Beat poetry on quaaludes with a Jack chaser, then the shit we find in nature is divine poetry.

We traveled closer to the equator ostensibly to experience spring training baseball. We commuted to the games at Hammond Stadium from Sanibel Island.

Island life offered a couple of reminders
  1. Don't vacation in Florida if you've spent a lifetime looking and moving westward (Florida is the TV Calamity Jersey Shore with a sprinkling of conch shells and no Bruce Springsteen).
  2. People who make things ignore the divine poetry of nature at their peril.
Divine Proportion

monotheist who argues on behalf of a divine creator but doesn't appreciate the mind-boggling beauty of the Divine Proportion, is either playing at a disadvantage or living in a fool's paradise.

For one to espouse intelligent design without knowing the Divine Proportion is like trying to hit the long ball with a fungo bat.

Perhaps the Divine Proportion is eschewed by monotheists because it's a compelling argument for incremental evolutionary perfection and emergent- and continuous design so appreciated by the monotheist's philosophic counterparts - the atheist, the humanist, and the agnostic.

I can throw you my hardest fastball. My hardest fastball is a bedeviling pitch any 32-inch batsman of any age can crush like a Florida grapefruit. Realistically I have no pitches, yet like most of us, I can make a wiffle ball behave unpredictably.

Here's the pitch for the Divine Proportion.

Two sections of a thing-a-ma-jiggy magically follow the Divine Proportion, or Golden Ratio, if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. Say wha?

Tapped into a calculator, this ratio gives the number


Always. Never fails.

That is,
(a + b) / a = 1.6180339887 = a / b

This ratio is observed in the dolphin's body looping in and out of the ocean ten feet beyond the shore break.

It's observed in the geometry of shells below your sand chair.

It's observed in the spiral of a palm leaf.

Stuff Made by Humans

Divine Proportion is also seen in stuff made by humans - anthropogenic objects like this spiral staircase:

Do today's designers regularly ignore evolutionary constants found in- and derived from nature?

Scientists and artists are paying attention to natural phenomena. The Biomimicry Institute makes a living studying how we might emulate natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to improve our designs.

To seize the day requires steadfast vigilance, the propensity to laugh, and the propensity to marvel at shit others are too busy to notice.

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