symmetry in environment

Symmetry in Our Environment and Our Lives

“The Mysteries held that man, in part at least, was the product of his environment Therefore they considered it imperative that every person be surrounded by objects which would invoke the highest and noblest sentiments. They proved that it was possible to produce beauty in life by surrounding life with beauty. They discovered that symmetrical bodies were built by souls continuously in the presence of symmetrical bodies; that noble thoughts were produced by minds surrounded by examples mental nobility. … Thoughtful men of antiquity realized that their great philosophers were the natural products of the aesthetic ideals of architecture, music, and art. …

“The substitution of the discord of the fantastic for the harmony of the beautiful constitutes one of the great tragedies of every civilization.” ~Manly P. Hall

Man’s Environment

There is little doubt that we are affected by the environment we live in. The only question is how much.

Recent studies have shown that people who grow up in poverty and surrounded by nothing but poor people will almost certainly spend his entire life in poverty. That is because he knows nothing else. The abandoned child from such an environment who is adopted by a wealthy family will be far more likely to have financial success as an adult. He grew up with it and knows how it works. Perhaps most of all, he expects it.

A person who grew up in an environment of fear and worry will probably grow up being fearful of everything and constantly worrying. The one shown that there is little to fear and worry solves nothing will have a much healthier mental attitude and be open to learning new things.

Environment with Beauty

The mystery schools and spiritual schools of the ancients did teach students to surround themselves with the things they wanted to be. Beauty was certainly a big part of that. The type of beauty Mr. Hall is talking about is not limited to humans. We can surround ourselves with beautiful plants and flowers. Beautiful housing with beautiful furniture also. The more beauty around us, the better. But beauty doesn’t have to be in the physical appearance of the person or thing. Beauty can also be in the way a person acts and thinks. It can be in a plant that struggles to survive in a rocky environment. It can be in a pet that survives and is happy despite having a handicap. Surrounding ourselves with true beauty is more effective than surrounding ourselves with the superficial beauty of vain people.

Beauty of Symmetry

For many ages, spiritual people have known that symmetry is a big part of beauty. The laws of Divine Proportion are all about symmetry. Symmetry creates calmness, mental peace. Symmetry is pleasing to the eye, the mine, and the spirit.

Being symmetrical doesn’t mean that one side of a thing must be a perfect mirror image of the other side. It just means that the differences are balanced so it doesn’t look lopsided. For example, India’s Taj Mahal uses the mirror image type of symmetry. Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle also has a symmetrical design but without both sides being identical.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Taj Mahal

Life of Symmetry

An environment of beauty and symmetry is a great aid to spiritual growth as well as mental and physical peace and happiness. But living a symmetrical life may be even more important that living in a symmetrical environment.

In a symmetrical life, we don’t limit ourselves to developing only our physical body. Neither do we develop only our mental side. We must make spiritual development just as much a part of our daily life as the physical and mental aspects. There are many people today who will spend five or six hours a week at the fitness center working on their physical body. Other come home from work and spend two hours in the evening doing online classes to develop the mind. Yet many of those same people balk at the idea of spending even ten minutes a day working on the development of their spirit and soul. That isn’t a symmetrical life. Considering that the spirit and soul is all of you that will survive physical death, the spiritual self must be developed along with the physical and mental. In truth, the spiritual should take priority.

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What is Beautiful?

“Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight; but there is a beauty for the hearing too, as in certain combinations of words and in all kinds of music, for melodies and cadences are beautiful; and minds that lift themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of beauty in the conduct of life, in actions, in character, in the pursuits of the intellect; and there is the beauty of the virtues. What loftier beauty there may be, yet, our argument will bring to light.

“What than is it that gives comeliness to material forms and draws the ear to the sweetness perceived in sounds, and what is the secret of the beauty there is in all that derives from the Soul? …

Almost everyone declares that the symmetry of parts towards each other and towards a whole, with, besides, a certain charm of color, constitutes the beauty recognized by the eye, that in visible things, as indeed in all else, universally, he beautiful thing is essentially symmetrical, patterned.” ~Plotinus

Rose1When you mention beauty, people naturally thing of visual beauty—that which seems attractive to the eye. But beauty can also be in other forms: beautiful music, beautiful poetry, even beautiful scents.

Plotinus comes to the conclusion that beautyPrettyBoy is a matter of symmetry. The attractive young man in the photo seems to fit that description. He has a handsome face that certainly seems to go well with his muscular and symmetrical body. A guy with a muscular body, but an ugly face would not be as attractive. Likewise, a guy with a handsome face, but a very out-of-shape body would not be attractive. The rose also seems to agree with the symmetry idea. If it was distorted, with some short petals and some much longer ones, it would not be attractive. But a stick-man is also symmetrical, yet not really beautiful. A stack of bricks can be symmetrical, yet not really beautiful. And the Castlefamous castle of Neuschwanstein is considered beautiful by most of us, yet the design is not symmetrical. Continue reading “What is Beautiful?”

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