The Experience of Geometry

Ask a small child to draw a human. The child will draw a “stick figure”. The figure is a combination of drawn lines and arcs (pieces of circles). All art, whether surreal or realistic uses lines and arcs. Designs for the latest space rockets are made from arcs and lines.
DNA construction of organisms is linear (individuation) and circular (synthesis). Do we draw what we experience?


I think geometry is the foundation of the universe. Symbols are essential to building and structuring. They’re already there and hold together and in order for us to create we have to follow its rules or else it will fall apart and will be useless and non-existent.

Thanks. for me it is apparent that geometry and physics are experienced before they can be articulated.

I think for the most part we do draw what we experience. After all, for the most part we -are- what we experience. Simple statement, I know… so let’s look at an example.

I think we can even draw it out… Not only do physical objects exhibit geometric personalities but so do abstract concepts like social patterns and whatnot. It’s easy to graph the linear average for the amount of people who visit ILP a day, for example.

But now we run into a problem, as slightly illustrated above – Geometric patterns themselves are simply abstract concepts. The linear average? That’s more or less forcing data into a geometric shape (line segment) right?. But then again, you ever see a perfect sphere? I doubt it because they don’t exist in tangible forms. You can make a -pretty- straight line, and a -fairly- equal triangle but when you really get critical -nothing- that exists is a -true- geometric pattern.

The reason for this, I think, is movement.

Imagine the universe as a rubix cube for a second. Because of the turning mechanism built into the rubix cube neither it as a whole, nor the individual colored squares are true cubes. The reason for this is relatively simple: because it needs to turn in order to be a functional rubix cube. At the atomistic, human perspective, the universe manifests itself to us as this workable system; we can exist on a certain quantum frequency without falling through reality to some other dimension. This system has a signature: Fibbonocci sequences, etc. The ‘cube’ turns, things change, the cube(s) remain.

In order to exist in any fashion a system must be in evolve (containing flaw) and in order to be in evolve a system must have movement. It is in that small space between the universal grindings of cosmic gears that all perspective purrs contently.

Hey, interesting post. And interestingly enough, there’s a correct answer!

While it’s true that we often draw what we experience, and it’s also true that young children often don’t have enough experience or talent to draw things more complicated than simple geometric shapes, the basic reason why those are the first things children draw is because that’s how the brain works.

The basic “pattern recognition” of the brain is divided up into functionally specific processing (e.g. recognizing human faces), and functionally general processing, which is lines, circles, and so on. In fact, there are specific and isolated parts of the human brain that recognize basic geometric shapes inherent in certain patterns, and then feed that data to other centers that reassemble the shapes. Basically, we’re good at recognizing lines. And that’s why they’re such natural things for children to draw.

So the answer is this: it’s not so much that lines are what we see - it’s that lines are fundamental enough to our world so that we evolved to innately perceive lines, and that innate perception peeks out in several ways, especially in the behavior of the young, who, due to a relative lack of nurture, act more out of nature.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s because of a child’s age and brain pattern or because it’s simply what we see. I think Gobbo hit it on the spot. I also suspect that geometry is crucial and essential to production of our ideas since what we create is a result of our ideas. Ideas must be organized and formulated to come out as we would like them to be. Geometry is how we do so. You can’t just go putting some wood and bricks together without an architectural plan, otherwise, it will be a disaster. I’d say for us to be able to process our world through simpler terms we create our ideal world from our brain’s natural abilities to work out problems we face. Since nature is nowhere near perfection in our eyes, our eyes decide what changes are to be made for it to be.

SS, I agree with you, but I’m pointing out that looking at things as lines and circles, edges and boundaries, is what the human brain is pre-programmed to do. The reason we think about things in a geometric way, rather than a perspective / light & shadow way, is that that’s the primary way our brain thinks, because that is how it has evolved to think.

Take out evolution and look at the cave paintings, the pottery. Paintings and artworks of structure and full of symbolism. We’ve always created tools and geometric patterns as far as human history goes back and as far as human age goes back. It doesn’t evolve. Our brain’s operation doesn’t evolve over individual time or cycle’s time.

I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but the geometric perception areas of our brains evolved easily before we were human. In fact, as far back as cave-man drawings, we were already very close to how we are now. I’m sure you’re right, and those parts of our brains have evolved little, if at all, since then - but that has nothing to do with what I’m saying.

Yes, I know. You didn’t mean to slip in evolution. It happens. :smiley:
What has evolved is the data base that we’re creating, not us.
What evolves is the fabrication of geometric proportion, not geometry itself, not how it operates, not its operator, but what it’s creating with its reccuring process.

Of course I did. It’s just that your objection didn’t address my point.

Both have evolved. Of course our “data base” evolves, and much more quickly than we evolve (depending on what you mean by “data base”). And it’s a common mistake to say “we aren’t evolving anymore”, usually touted by semi-introspective high-schoolers - but of course that’s wrong. We’re still evolving, just as fast as ever.

Sure, Geometry itself is static - but our brains evolve. Because Geometry is so prevalent and useful in the outside world, our brains evolved the ability to perceive using Geometric Fundamentals - and this evolution shows its head in basic human behavior, as many innate behaviors do (such as the tendency of a newborn to grasp fingers and hair).

Data base, as in not people but what is left and having been preconcieved to process of our historical foundations that are based not in our physicality, but mentality. A newborn baby is on a timeline and only evolves within it. We were all once newborn babies, that does not change. Change happens within personal knowledge and age but not DNA as science would love to believe. People continue on a cycled and unchanging range. Knowledge is following a story that people have created.

Wait, now - are you saying that you disagree with something specific that I said, or that you don’t believe in evolution?

You’re certainly right that, for an individual, DNA doesn’t change - but DNA changes over time. For one, obviously your child’s DNA isn’t the same as yours - but even the general categories of DNA that correspond to “being human” will change with time, as they have changed from “being ape” in the past.

Right, but see, that’s your personal opinion and not what actually happens or can be proven to happen, so yes, I will have to disagree.

DNA carries on. We all have individual DNA structures and we all have individual mind sets and ways of thinking but not to such varying degrees that it’s a geometrically present change or a physical change. Geometry hasn’t changed and neither have we. Many things vary to become connected. Our physical minds are not connecting or evolving. Our database from which geometry occurs does not change either. What changes is its production.

Well, this is getting into something totally off-topic, so we should probably call it quits. Although I will tell you that the area of Intelligent Design has no good points whatsoever, and that it’s true that evolution isn’t proven - but it is literally as proven as any scientific theory can ever be, which is such a strong statement that there is literally no academic controversy over whether or not evolution is true - nor has there ever been since the late 1800s.

If you wish to challenge any of my points, PM me or start a new post! I can back up everything I say, literally as far as refuting the (honestly quite pathetic) arguments of the IDers.


Yes! Even before human, shape cognition was vital to survival. Shape recognition was the difference between getting dinner and being dinner. But this is common to all animals, not just primates. Prey or predator? A vital brain recognition function. As for personal development, it is more facility than recognition. Hand - eye coordination controls what may be produced at any stage of development

I’m not a creationist! And I’ve stepped onward from the late 1800s. We’re in a new age of knowledge and geometrical production. Our surroundings have changed but we have not. We create our surroundings. This is very on-topic discussion. It has everything to do with geometry experience.

Oops! Sorry for the misinterpretation.

In that case, I still don’t quite get what you’re saying. I agree with all of what you’ve said in your last post, but I still don’t see how that relates to the ideas at hand. Yeah, we create geometrical ideas, and sure, geometry is important in a lot of ways, but it’s still definitely true that geometrical concepts are pre-programmed into the human brain because of evolution, and that these programs show themselves, more clearly in the behavior of children than in adults.

How so?

Because of evolution? I see adults making the same geometrical patterns as children only more advanced because of their knowledge concerning it that children don’t yet have. It doesn’t mean that they’ve “evolved”. They’ve simply become more aware and know how to use it over time given to compile its thoughts and formulate its outcome. If a child has a high IQ to begin with, it will not change. If a child has a high IQ, the child’s IQ does not adapt to its production but merely creates with more precision and depth. Yes, a child’s brain does develop but only based on its genetic code’s allowance. Knowledge is processed and changed but what is not is the genetic code that is premade to follow its plan. Unless, of course, the child became retarded for some outer influenced reason but that does not pass on into the genetic coding. What is produced cannot create and what creates cannot be produced. What we create is based upon laws that govern geometrical shapes that we have created to create physical changes but geometrical shapes do not consciously do as we do. They are still another tool for us to use. Saying that we ourselves are evolving is saying that we are consciously being created by a tool such as geometry instead of creating with it and that what is created and created unconsciously can do as we do and that, my friend, I do not see. I think the very fact that consciousness is what creates and molds the unconscious proves that we could not be created by the unconscious. A product cannot create its producer. Small to large from what, I ask, what? Is what we produce greater than us or greater than what we percieve? What we geometrically process is already there but we are not. What we have created is outside of what we’re made of and the only way to make our creation is through ideas which our creation does not have. Children are created but no better than its producer, only varying. Species are, however, greater and lesser in the chain. Its production is not. What we create is ideal but the ideal must first be present to create. We are the only species that uses ideas and, therefore, the only creators. Geometry is drawn out of recognition, yes, be we are the only ones who use geometry to create and draw what our ideal world should be. That doesn’t mean we literally create a completely different species over time anymore than it means there is an omni figure that conducts it. We ourselves are the creators of geometry, it’s there because humans do have it instilled within in them but it hasn’t changed over time. It’s simply expanded and collided on its own with our improvisation. We haven’t expanded or collided with its improvisation.

It is amazing that we’re so pre-programmed to abstract that people have to practice for years before they can draw realistically - that is, force themselves to stop geometrizing things.

In any case:

Twiffy, I have an issue with your terminology - you place geometry in the “outside world.” It seems to me that rather than asserting that lines (or other geometric principals) are fundamental enough to the world that we’ve evolved to recognize them, one must say that the concept of “geometric fundamentals” (whether or not they’re fundamental to the world at all) is useful enough that we evolved the ability to treat the world as if it was based on these geometrical fundamentals.

Geometry itself is abstract - that is, geometry exists only in the same way that the computer code that this message is transmitted with exists - this is not a message (nor can be said to abide by “fundamentals” like grammar and spelling conventions) until it is interpereted, and those fundamentals are created by the interpereting party based on what fundamentals are useful to them (in this case, those fundamentals that make the most “sense”.)

Without a geometrical interperetation, even the “straightest” natural “line” is not geometrical.

That said, I can’t really disagree with the idea that the ability to interperet things geometrically is evolutionary in origin, or the idea that people express their experience of things (what else is there to express?)

As far as the original question goes, and much of Silent’s points, I can’t really understand the intent behind them.