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 17 2012: First off symmetry is a matter of perspective. Change the axis, no more symmetry.

    Certain things have symmetrical patterns and designs in them because they're typically more efficient to produce, put together, take apart, instruct on usage, etc.

    When it comes to things that aren't mass produced, symmetry usually takes a back seat. Art, for example, is often not symmetrical at all. There's no need for art to be more efficient, but there is a need to build houses efficiently. Artistic houses on the other hand... that's why you pay the big bucks for it.

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