Numbers – the language of the universe.
Everything in the universe is ruled by numbers. Mathematical laws are prevalent everywhere. You can see them in the arrangements of leaves, bracts on a pine cone, the growth of a hive of bees and the growth of a single cell in the human body.
I often wish that at school they explained to right brain dominant kids like myself ALL the things that you can explore with maths. Right brain dominant kids need to get the big picture first before they see a good enough reason to knuckle down and learn the details. Things like Numerology, the Fibonacci Numbers, sacred geometry and golden ratios etc. absolutely fascinate me. Their basis is all mathematical – the language of the universe. The golden ratios are seen in the human body design – the ratio of the different bones in the fingers to each other, the ratio of the forearm to the hand… The list is endless.
When I used to train the drafting and AutoCAD students I would teach them certain commands on AutoCAD – a computerized engineering drawing program – (like ARRAY, HATCH and RENDER) by letting them draw mandalas – a Sanskrit word that means “circle”. In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern. They are actually very spiritual by nature, being used by guys like Carl Jung to analyze the subconscious mind, but obviously I never got into this with my students. These patterns often emulate the arrangement of flower petals and various other patterns found in nature. Geometric patterns is what they were drawing as far as they were concerned, in multicolours, filled in with shading or textures. No wonder my favourite toy as a child was a Spirograph.
Below is a piece I have quoted from Ivars Peterson to give you an idea of what I am talking about:
If you’ve ever looked for a four-leafed clover, you know that nature rarely delivers such a curiosity. Nearly every clover plant you check has the usual three leaves. If you study the flowers in your garden or in the countryside, you’ll discover the most common number of petals is five. Buttercups, geraniums, pansies, primroses, rhododendrons, tomato blossoms, and many more all have five petals.
Five also shows up in arrangements of seeds. Cut an apple in half across its core rather than the usual way down the core from the stem), and you’ll see the seeds arranged in a beautiful five-pointed star. What numbers do cucumbers, tomatoes, pears, and lemons feature?
Pineapples have eight rows of scales, seen as roughly diamond-shaped markings, sloping in one direction and 13 sloping in the other. Pine cones show the same sort of feature.
The head of a sunflower highlights other numbers. In a perfect head, the tiny flowers, or florets, that will become seeds are arranged in two spirals, one winding clockwise and the other counterclockwise. Depending on the species of sunflower, you might find 34 and 55, 55 and 89, or even 89 and 144 florets along a spiral. Similarly, floret spirals at the center of certain types of daisies feature the numbers 21 and 34. You can look for similar patterns on broccoli or cauliflower.
Take a look at the numbers that nature seems to like (at least in plants): 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and 144. Can you find a pattern?
Here’s a clue: Start with 1 + 1 = 2, and then add the two numbers on each side of the equal sign. Keep on doing this with each new equation that you get.
1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 2 + 3 = 5, 3 + 5 = 8, 5 + 8 = 13, 8 + 13 = 21, 13 + 21 = 34, and so on.
The sums you get are all members of a famous sequence of numbers named for the mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, who studied them about 800 years ago. Scientists have long wondered why these number come up in plants. The answer may have something to do with the way plants grow, especially the way petals or buds space themselves to gather the most sunlight and nutrients.
Wherever you look, nature certainly has a way with numbers.
I hope you found this interesting. Perhaps tomorrow I will explain a bit about the functions of the left and right brains so you can determine whether your child is like me and needs the big picture to learn or not – amongst other things. I can pick this up with the numerology as well, which helps me guide parents with regard to understanding their children better and in making suggestions for possible career choices.
Until tomorrow – ponder on the universal language of numbers. If you have time, Google some of these concepts and enjoy if you are so inclined.