Ming the Mechanic:
Curves and Wiggles

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Curves and Wiggles2004-01-21 14:32
21 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

From Euan:
Chris Corrigan has been doing some interesting bloging recently about circles and quotes this from Danish polymath Piet Hein:

Man is the animal that draws lines which he himself then stumbles over. In the whole pattern of civilization there have been two tendencies, one toward straight lines and rectangular patterns and one toward circular lines. There are reasons, mechanical and psychological, for both tendencies. Things made with straight lines fit well together and save space. And we can move easily - physically or mentally - around things made with round lines.

Spookily I read the following this morning from Alan Watts:

Civilized human beings, and Westerners in particular, are always trying to straighten things out and put them in rectilinear boxes. This arises out of the Greek superstition that there are three dimensions of space and from Euclid's brutally oversimplified fantasies of a world consisting of points, lines, surfaces, circles and cubes. It is hard to persuade and educated Westerner that Euclid was simply a fantast and that his so-called geometry had nothing to do with measuring the earth, but only with working out the rules of his own rather rigid and simple mind. Earth wiggles, water streams and waves, and nature in general dances and swings, but Euclid's mind never reached the biological level. It stopped in the purely crystalline stage of evolution. This is why generation after generation of school children have been bamboozled into the notion that a straight line is simpler, and thus more intelligible, than a wiggle. Ever after we have been trying to subjugate all experience, knowledge, and action to the supposed clarity and intelligibility of straight lines.

from Alan Watts' essay What On Earth Are We Doing?
Here's to wiggles!


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21 comments

21 Jan 2004 @ 17:13 by Chris Corrigan @207.216.90.117 : Hip to be square
An hereditary chief, Mary Everson, from the Comox First Nation once pulled me aside and said "You Ojibways love your cirlces eh? Out here on the west coast we build everything in squares, all of our ceremonial places are squares. The reason for that is, like you, the shape represents the various stages in our lives. The difference is that with us we need to know when we have turned a corner!"  


21 Jan 2004 @ 17:19 by ming : Geometry
Hahah, we need all the shapes I guess.  


22 Jan 2004 @ 11:19 by Aideen @69.33.46.10 : Straight lines
It brings to mind the distinctive Celtic art style which most striking feature involves design patterns employing intricate intertwining curved forms. Celts were not much fond of straight lines and rectangles. They loved circles and open-ended curves, which some experts believe exemplify the Celts' love of freedom over regimentation.  


22 Jan 2004 @ 11:32 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Feng Shui
My mother believes that laying out paths (gardens and house interiors) on straight lines encourages negative energies to flow through. The same idea (use curved not straight lines) is found in Feng Shui.  


22 Jan 2004 @ 11:42 by Aideen @69.33.46.10 : Hehehe
The celts used/use a sort of spiral shared shamrock which they laid out in their gardens and homes. Thus shamrocks and 4 leaf clovers being lucky.  


8 Mar 2004 @ 14:31 by ace @4.10.8.22 : damn
i wish i had the mind power to understand this  


19 Dec 2014 @ 16:24 by Manju @186.91.238.165 : vFsYuwujtN
So.... I just emailed mlesyf two beautiful quotes from this so that when I open that "one line a day" journal I bought mlesyf (got one for Matt too) for stocking stuffers, I can remember the quotes to put In there. You are an amazing mom. Some of the most profound things Ive read in a long, long time.  


23 Dec 2014 @ 16:10 by Kiki @186.94.51.94 : WDutJThWVkvgT
He was REALLY getting a kick out that dog, wasn't he??! Cutest laugh ever! I'm sorry about the stair acdcneit. You never do get used to scary things like that....but they do just keep on happening. One of those really hard things about being a mom! I hate that part.  


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