TED Conversations

Saidi Ngutu

Water, Sanitation and Environmental Engineer, Netwas International

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Why are man-made creations so symmetrical?

Why is this world so symmetrical, have you ever thought about it? Nature and all man-made things have to be symmetrical. Did 'God' have an obsession with symmetry which has translated to everything we create? Is it because our minds, symmetrical in nature, can only understand objects in symmetry?

This idea has troubled and puzzles me everywhere I turn. As i write this, my laptop, my phone the plate next to me, the bottle of coke on my table all this objects are so symmetrical yet each unique in its own way serving a different purpose. Maybe something beyond us created this universe of things so symmetrical that's why we are obsessed with perfection, thrive in order, and relate to the normal of symmetry.

I am quite new at TED and was wondering if anyone has ever explored this peculiar existence that cuts through nature and the man-made objects.

Topics: philosophy
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  • Oct 16 2012: In nature symmetries exist in systems with lots of energy, so we are hardwired to take interest in them.
    Symmetrical systems have very low entropy, which implies a considerable amount of stored energy. what we call beauty or balance is just the rhetoric the nervous system has created to help us deal with these complex systems.
    In terms of man made design, putting aside all the cases where symmetry is necessary for function, symmetry is simply used as a way to get our brain to pay attention.
    • Oct 16 2012: Great answer.
      But I have a question? So you are saying that everything we like is because of energy in things we like? Does that mean that what I like is not the actual thing, but the structer of energy stored in an object?
      I would appriciate your answer lopo.

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