I’ve recently been leafing through my old notebooks and found that over the years when I’ve come to a particularly interesting or well written passage in a book I'm reading - I’ve scribbled it down. It occurred to me that it might be nice to occasionally share them here in our book section.
I thought I’d start this off with a passage that I found in a book from the 1930’s (that I think may have been my great grandpa's) called ‘An Outline for Boys and Girls and their Parents’.
The book attempts to, well... Do exactly what it says on the cover. It gives an outline of the world for its newer inhabitants as well as offers a refresher for the rest of us. I found it very interesting to note that, even though life is surely very different now, much more information than you would think was still relevant today.
I read the following passage a few years ago, but curiously I remember that it was at this time of year - because these daisy flowers had just started growing. I remember walking curiously around the countryside looking for perfect circles and reflecting that nature does indeed ‘wing it’.
Perfectly Imperfect Circles
“The same mistake was made when men began to develop geometry. They found that, though they could make perfect circles, straight lines, and squares, actually in nature they very seldom came across such perfect things. Nature seems to "draw freehand" from perfect geometrical models, but not herself to make such models. So men began to think there was something divine about geometry and that circles especially, were heavenly.
“The idea, of course, seemed to gain great support from the early study of the stars. It seemed to the first astronomers that, though down here every pattern was muddled and every design incomplete, in the sky there was perfect order. So firmly did this idea fix itself in men's minds that when, only four centuries ago, it was pointed out that the planets were not going in perfect circles around the sun, but in irregular circles called ellipses, the idea was attacked as impious, because to say that a heavenly body did not move in the heavenly way - a perfect circle - was to throw doubt on the circle being a divine shape.”