Symmetry and Asymmetry

There are many forms of symmetry that are visible throughout nature.

Biology, physics, art, music, architecture, and mathematics bear witness to a variety of these forms, shapes, and patterns.

Symmetry displayed by plants and animals, and by human-made labors of all kinds, is commonplace.

Animals, including humans, often use symmetry to judge beauty and health during mate selection. A lioness will select her mate based on the symmetry of a male’s whiskers.

Leonardo modeled his perfect human form after the proportions laid out by Vitruvius, an ancient Roman architect, who based his theories on the five-fold symmetry inherent in the harmony of the golden ratio, or ‘divine proportion’.

Our interest in and appreciation of symmetry is probably innate.

Symmetry is the result of mirrored or repeated patterns organized about a position of equilibrium. Symmetry produces a strong sense of unity because of its inherent repetition.

Asymmetry means without symmetry. Asymmetry creates variety.

Together, symmetry and asymmetry provide a balance of unity and variety.

The opposing nature of symmetry and asymmetry has invaded the symbolic world of our consciousness. Binomial thoughts often inhabit the two bilaterally symmetrical hemispheres of our brain:

Begin and End

Space and Time
Light and Sound

Electrons and Quarks
Atoms and Molecules

Stars and Planets
Galaxies and Voids

Fast and Slow
Dense and Sparse

Large and Small
Here and There
Before and After
Now and Then

Justice and Revenge

Eye and Ear
Hand and Foot

Eat and Drink
Read and Write

Hot and Cold

Long and Short
High and Low
Loud and Soft

Good and Bad
Black and White

Me and You
Us and Them

Desire and Regret
Love and Hate

Fear and Longing
Pain and Pleasure

Life and Death