Niklas Scheuerman

October 7th 2014

Foundations

The Golden Mean/Ratio

The Golden Mean and the Golden Ratio have been studied over and over again through the course of time. Many have had different interpretations over the meaning of the Golden Mean, but one principle still stands, perfection. Perfection in its most complex form such as mathematical equations. Perfection as in the balance between two extremes. To the philosophers and mathematicians that studied the Golden Mean and the Golden Ratio, this perfection meant nothing but pure beauty.

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The Golden Mean in philosophy is based around the idea that there is perfection between two planes of extreme. For example in between punishment and forgiveness there is justice. This idea that there is perfection almost everywhere was an ideal, that past cultures like the Greeks, deeply enjoyed. They believed that the there was an indefinite connection in the world between truth and beauty. The Golden Mean acted as that bridge between truth and beauty in the world. This bridge is what created an idea of perfection that greek philosophers encouraged others to strive for. Convincing people to strive for this infinite perfection was not hard, especially when the philosophers’ theories involved the thesis that to achieve this higher level of perfection was to achieve ultimate beauty. Another depiction that the Greeks developed for the Golden Mean was that it could be split up into three forms. Those three forms were symmetry, proportion, and harmony. This once again draws back to the idea of ultimate beauty. Another connection that the Golden Mean created was that not only did perfection mean truth and beauty, but mathematics created that bridge as well.

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In mathematics, the Golden Mean represents a series of equations that always lead up to the same basic answer. No matter what numbers are plugged into this equation the ratio will always remain the same, thus coining the term the Golden Ratio. Another version of the Golden Mean is also described as the Golden Number, which can be linked back to the Golden Ratio. This number is also known as the Greek symbol “Phi”, or 1.618. Basically the formula states that any two numbers that are added together have the same ratio as the ratio of the two numbers added together. This states that even in math there is an intense form of perfection. The complement to the Golden Ratio in a structural form in mathematics, is the advanced and complex version of the Golden Mean that is seen in nature.

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In nature the Golden Ratio has been everywhere. In the trees, in the grass, in the human nervous system. The Golden Ratio is definite proof that there is a harmony and balance in the world that binds every living thing to each other. One such example is a flower, the petals of a flower are perfectly spaced and aligned in a perfect 360 degree turning sequence to optimally capture the sequence of turning and to gather sunlight in the most efficient way possible. In a sunflower, the seeds in the center are all symmetrically aligned and oriented in a way that there is a simple form of perfection. The seed formation in the center is in a perfect circle and if you were to draw a line down the center of one of them you can see that there is an equal number of seeds on both sides of the plant. Certain shells also carry the Golden Ratio in their shape. If you look at the curve beginning at a shell and watch the spiral move away from the center, you can see it is a constant growth. This exponentially growing spiral represents the “a/b” ratio that makes up the main idea of the Golden Ratio from a mathematical standpoint. Nature has one of the most basic and realistic forms of perfection, maybe if we stopped trying to be perfect ourselves and tried to observe the perfection in nature we would come to a better understanding of how the world works. Instead, the human race likes to delve right into ad dependant magazines that tell us to look a certain way or society will not except you or shun you for the rest of your life. We all have something to learn form the ideals that the Golden Mean represents.

Works Cited

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Dvorsky, George. “15 Uncanny Examples of the Golden Ratio in Nature.” *Io9*. 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. <http://io9.com/5985588/15-uncanny-examples-of-the-golden-ratio-in-nature>.