The order of the spiral

Equiangularity in nature ~ Rethinking a philosophy in life

   Time has certainly moved on from a place of incipient chaos and uncertainty to one of order and hope, although this wouldn’t appear to be the case with current events seemingly spiraling out of control. This schema of perception itself serves nothing except to create a discordant asymmetry in the mind , whereas in the grand plan, there seems to occur nothing of this sort or at least that is what I would like to imagine; for somewhere in the spiral arms of apparent disorder is stamped a winding return to source.

   The tropical Storm Isaias earlier this month, the ninth of the Atlantic hurricane season, saw a slew of spirals drift onto virtual media. As the storm arrived, emotions ran the gamut from fear to an urgent practicality (Yes, I finally braved the process to create the  perfect Bug Out bags and shared my apprehensions or rather… ahem … my diligent research with many of my friends). As the storm raged on, the trees had their limbs severed and then in the aftermath, I noticed showers of pine cones, woody cones marked by spiral winding bracts, attesting with a signature the inevitable stamp of spirality to the end of a classic natural phenomenon. The pineapple on the kitchen counter, yes that too and the busybody spider outdoors creating real estate, tethered to the firewood  and the unblinking lamp on the wall. Ah, no spiral was left to either the imagination or conjecture, save the concrete  geometric manifestations in form, there only to behold and wonder.

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   Jacques Bernoulli, the Swiss mathematician was so enamored of the equiangular spiral, what he called Spira Mirabilis; he asked that it be engraved on his tombstone. It was unfortunately the Archimedean spiral that got inserted by the engraver instead but the quote therein remained the Latin epigraph he had requested for: eadem mutata resurgo, “although changed, I arise the same.” It is a phenomenon that belies this phrase that lends itself to my philosophy of natural life, that a line from any point in space to a point on an equiangular spiral always intercepts at a constant angle. It is so intriguing yet so simple that the same blueprint should suffice for every chamber of the Nautilus shell as the soft bodied mollusc within, makes its way from one chamber to the next, growing outwards, changed, yet the same.

 

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   I am not sure where this post was meant to go today, except to think about a poem I penned earlier on the beauty of mathematical form hidden in plain sight in everyday life, inspired by the now resting pine cones, the Costa Rican pineapples, hurricane season, spiders webs, all in all trying to stamp an underlying order in everything that appears to be not tethered to source and yet, quite beautifully, is.

The Order of the Spiral 

an ode to the logarithmic spiral by davina e. solomon

Pearlescent lustrous Nautilus shell

smoothening my palm ...

an immense peace wraps around me

in equiangularity ...

aiming to the core of my being

while I spiral outwards,

my own self always

at an ever burgeoning

distance from source,

yet firmly rooted

to my complexities within.

Mirrored in a fractal,

thus fractals all ...

Did Decartes shout

an eureka of enlightenment,

when he beheld

the beauty in his spiral?

Or was he further enmeshed

in his Cartesian dualisms,

his deterministic separations?

For here I am,

and I can only sense

the oneness of being...

unable to comprehend

the opposing polarities

within circular reasonings

Of those that care to paint the world

even if in harmonious dualities.

And this morning when I gazed

at the spider's web

reflecting the rays of dawn,

I marvelled at how

she could achieve

such perfection of design

in her Spira Mirabilis.

And as life dissipates itself

into intricate fractals,

every complex atom of a beating heart

is a microcosmic entity

replicating the self same

to achieve a marvellous order

to an intricate unravelling

within the magnificent Cosmos.

 

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