The Symmetrical Universe

The search for symmetry, and the emotional pleasure we derive when we find it, must help us make sense of the world around us, just as we find satisfaction in the repetition of the seasons and the reliability of friendships. Symmetry is also economy. Symmetry is simplicity. Symmetry is elegance.

I would add that symmetry may be the most lovely of manmade mirage, luring us into a feeling of not just beauty, but sublimity. A transcendence into some grand Platonic order of all creation. As though symmetry is a portal to life’s origin, giving us hints of the design or code that got everything going. It is the comfort that things not only might or could make sense but that they do make sense. Surely so much order in the world is not an accident, or an arbitrary coincidence in Nature. There is some grander scheme about us, in which we are lucky to take part. We are integral to the overarching symmetry of all existence, even as we often feel such discord with it. In the most Romantic vision possible, asking, “where do I belong?” is understandable, but asking, “do I belong?” is preposterous. Unless, of course, life is constantly figuring out its own symmetry, and you happen not to fit. Unfortunately, add in social construction, a mimetic striving for the glorious symmetry that we witness in Nature, and suddenly fitness may become necessary self-annihilation. Symmetry is ultimate beauty. But does this mean conformity? Or a fundamental play of contradictions and complexities? A wonderful symmetry of diversity?

I’m sure my newest cells have little to say on the matter. But I’m grateful they’re plugging away, keeping me alive (long enough to replicate) so that I may ponder and pontificate on such stuff. What sort of cosmic symmetry will balance out this trivial project of ours?

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