Patterns in Nature
Have you ever noticed how patterns pervade in various aspects of your life? There are patterns in music, in art, in architecture, in poems, and even in prayer.
Do you notice the in and out patterns in your breathing or the up and down ECG (electrocardiograph) patterns of your heart?
More on Sleep Patterns
You also have sleep-wake patterns and even patterns within sleep itself.
We see, hear, smell, and touch patterns. I’m not sure if we can taste patterns though. Maybe the food tasters can tell us.
What are Patterns?
What comes to your mind when the word ‘patterns’ is mentioned? - “repetition”, right?
Patterns are things that repeat over and over. The repetition can be in objects, or behaviour, or action. Thus, repeated lines on your writing pad are patterns. Repeated buttons on your shirt are patterns. The hairs on your brow are patterns. Even the laugh lines on your face are patterns.
Patterns are as easy to recognize as the yellow polka dots in the bikini or the stripes on the zebra’s skin. But patterns can also be hard to notice when they involve your behaviour or action unless you sort of stand back and observe or somebody else points out the behaviour to you. Thus, maybe, you did not notice that you always run your fingers through your hair every time you are nervous. This is a pattern.
How Many Patterns Are There?
Just how many patterns are there? As many as the stars in the sky, maybe?
Just to satisfy my curiosity, I typed ‘patterns’ in my Google search, and this is what I got:
Wow! And I haven’t even typed ‘patterns in nature’ yet! So, the number of patterns is really almost limitless. No wonder, people love patterns.
paterns in mundane things
Discovering Patterns in Mundane Things
You see patterns almost everywhere. There are patterns in your bedroom – just look at your blanket or your comforter. Their designs always exhibit certain patterns like flowers or stripes or zigzags or circles.
Get out of your room and look at the things in your family room – did you notice the patterns in the folds of your curtains? What about the way your books are arranged on the bookshelf? Or the way your cds or albums are stacked?
Now, go out of your house and look around you. What do you see now? Did you notice the pattern on your door? What about the pattern in your garden or on your pavement?
Yes we see patterns everywhere. But what I’m going to focus on this time, are patterns in nature.
Discovering Patterns in Nature
Human beings throughout history have looked for patterns in nature and natural phenomena. Observed patterns become the basis for mathematical formulae and these formulae enable us to make predictions about certain things.
For example, Aldof Zeising, a German psychologist whose main interests were mathematics and philosophy, observed that branches of trees or veins in the leaves follow a certain pattern. He also noted that this pattern is seen in the veins and nerves of the human body. He noticed that this pattern follows a certain ratio, which he called as the Golden Ratio.
According to him, “The Golden Ratio is a universal law in which is contained the ground-principle of all formative striving for beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art, and which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical; which finds its fullest realization, however, in the human form”.
Isn’t this neat? A universal law that explains why structures follow certain patterns that leads to beauty and completeness?
This ratio also comes in other names such as: The Golden Mean, Phi, The Divine Section, The Golden Section, The Golden Cut, The Golden Proportion, and The Divine Proportion. Whatever the name is, the ratio is approximately 1.618 and you can observe this in the petals of a flower or the symmetry of the human body.
Leonardo da Vinci extensively used patterns in his art and this symmetry of the human is immortalized in his ever popular,“Vitruvian Man”.
will not go into the mathematics of the Golden Ratio because most people are
turned off by numbers and formulae. I just want to say at this point that
looking for the Golden ratio especially in nature is an interesting exercise
especially if you are fond of numbers. You can follow the links at the bottom of this hub if you are mathematically inclined.
But looking for patterns that make you ask “why didn’t I see that before?” is an even better exercise.
So come and enjoy with me these patterns in nature.
More Patterns in Nature
"Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern."
- Alfred North Whithead