Friday, December 03, 2004

Divine Beauty

Blossom |©| Ramla A.

I have had an uneasy love affair with Hibiscus the flower all my life. It's one of the primary subjects in the study of botanical science. We grew up studying the "pollination & fertilization" of the flower, drawing its many pictures. I particularly got adept at drawing the five-petalled flower and its edgy leaves. Perhaps I have not drawn any other natural form so often and so regularly. Why, I always wondered, was I so drawn to the five-petalled flower form? It seemed uneven because of the number 5, and yet had a beautiful symmetry.

Then I learnt about the divine proportion, Phi, from my mathematical genius brother Umais. Phi, he told me, was the "golden ratio (1:1.67)," the most prevalent mathematical proportion in nature. It existed in shells, in flowers, in sun flowers... the ancients knew it. The golden ratio was used in Greek architecture among others. The best use I made of that information was to apply the ratio to many logos and graphics I designed.

I also related the ratio to Shakespeare's verses, structured in iambic pentameter. And to the most intriguingly attractive tiles in my home, the deep mahogany marble tiles in my parents' bathroom. And to Hibiscus the five-petalled flower.

I never quite liked its color, though I loved it divine shape. In April, my eye rested on a hisbiscus springing forth in a garden. I tried to capture its blossoming glory, springing forth from a quaint building in the background. A low resolution digital camera running low on memory led to a less than desired depth in the picture. I hope the depth that my imagination saw can now come from the background thought running in my head when I took this picture.

Note: The world has discovered about the graceful, mystical divine proportion now through the wildly popular The Da Vinci Code, a riveting book with a rather unsatiating end.


  1. You should watch a 1998 movie called Pi. Its about a mathematician who was looking for patterns that govern life and he was keep coming back to the Pi ratio.

    It's a little dark and wierd but nevertheless an interesting movie. I fast-forwarded the wierd scenes.

  2. I have to find the movie and see it, including the weird and dark parts (I have no idea what's in store for me). Pi and Phi are amazing numbers, and getting to know them helps immensely with pattern reading, a life-long hobby for many including myself.