Reflections On Change: The Constant In Change Third in the Series
This is the hallmark of history’s great minds. They go beyond the obvious changes we notice to discover the mediating constants. We see this in mathematics, servant of science.
Take the perfect circle idea. We have constructed circles of various sizes from the 19 millimeter-diameter US penny to the large ancient 421-meter-diameter Avebury Stone Circles, the largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to about 5,000 years ago. Yet the diameter and the circumference ratio of these two circles, known as the Archimedes’ Constant, (π) pi is the same.
Then the spiral. The nautilus shell and sunflower grow in an identical constant ratio called the golden mean, the golden section or the divine proportion, represented by the Greek character phi φ. This proportion is related closely to the Fibonacci numbers 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, where you add the last two numbers to get the next.
Adolf Zeising (1810 – 1876) identified this ratio in various forms of growth patterns in branches, leaves, skeletons and even crystals. The Golden Mean represented for the German intellectual "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."
Spirituality builds on science by seeking to discover the Constant beyond the constant. Spirituality is how I transcend daily the unreal to reach the Real, the changing to the Changeless, the finite to the Infinite. This begins when when I notice and ask certain questions related to change.
What remains when we have swam over and over again like salmon in the moving stream in the river’s constant flow?
When ice heats into water and boiling steam? Is it H20? The formula? See? See?
When the egg metamorphoses into a butterfly through a caterpillar and a pupa?
And the changeless. Is it within or outside? Or is the permanent nowhere or equally there?
What remains, for example, when the weather changes? When it thunders with lightening, the tornado uproots trees like a million elephants dancing carelessly and playing happily through the fields? Is it the sky and space, the nothingness holding it like a container?
These questions are applicable to social, economic, cultural and political changes as well. For here too the Changeless is mother of the changing.