Geometric Public Awareness
Why do we use the Dodecahedron so much?
Where does this shape come from?
What does it mean?
To answer these questions a small narrative from history must be told.
The Pythagoreans were an elite class of mathematicians that lived and prospered in ancient Greece. Math was relativity new to the human species back then, and the first people to delve into its mysteries were seen as magicians and wizards. The Pythagoreans were no different.
With confident authority they spoke publicly of the mathematical underpinnings of reality, that everything could be explained by numbers, and ratios of numbers. This view resonated with the Greek people, and brought the mathematical wizards respect and power in society.
Along the way they discovered the Platonic Solids. Five unique shapes which followed simple rules, and seemed to embody the building blocks of nature.
- The Tetrahedron, made of four regular triangles, represented fire.
- The Hexahedron, or cube, made of six regular squares, represented earth.
- The Octahedron, made of eight regular triangles, represented air.
- The Icosahedron, made of twenty regular triangles, represented water.
- And finally, the Dodecahedron, made of twelve regular pentagons, which the Pythagoreans decided represented the entire universe. As Plato remarked of the Dodecahedron, "...the god used for arranging the constellations and the whole heaven."
But the Dodecahedron contained a problem for the Pythagoreans. A keen mind could derive the concept of irrationality from its pentagonal sides. Irrational numbers flew in the face of everything the Pythagoreans were telling the public. Irrational numbers undermined the idea that the universe could be described by ratios of rational numbers. It undermined the respect, power and the political magic that the mathematical wizards wielded.
At the same time they understood that this shape was a doorway to a new way of seeing the world, and thus sacred in its own right. But the dissolution of their power was too great a risk.
The Pythagoreans hid the Dodecahedron from the public. The other four platonic solids were debuted and touted, but only the inner circle elites knew of the fifth.
Time passed. Powerful mathematicians became less concerned with math and more concerned with power.
And then came Hippasus of Metapontum. He had slowly edged his way into the inner circle of Pythagoreans by unique charm and brilliant mathematical talent, and had been trusted with the knowledge of the fifth platonic solid, the universe itself, the Dodecahedron.
One fateful day Hippasus gathered a crowd around him in a public square. On a large stone tablet he inscribed a Dodecahedron inside a sphere.
For this act, the Pythagoreans drowned Hippasus.
The Dodecahedron is a symbol of elite knowledge. Knowledge kept from the public to protect the power structures of the elite.
A public Dodecahedron gives this knowledge back to the people, and makes a symbolic statement, that scientific and mathematical discoveries should be made public. A public Dodecahedron can be a statement that Open-Source is more than a movement to share information, it is a force against corruption, greed and the stagnation of society.
Curiosity is the foundation of creativity. Transparency feeds curiosity.
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