Is Our World Full Of Deep Symmetries And Ordered Pairs? [Video]

Is Our World Full Of Deep Symmetries And Ordered Pairs? [Video]

Inspired by the Radiolab episode 'Desperately Seeking Symmetry', the accompanying video by Everynone explores human desire for balance, only to reveal the beauty within imperfect matches.

Kyana Gordon
  • 21 april 2011

The title of this post was the question raised  by a recent WNYC Radiolab episode called Desperately Seeking Symmetry. Last week’s hour-long show had its hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich exploring the search for order and balance in our world, by delving deeper into symmetry’s role in shaping how we live and find love. The journey was started by a passage from Plato’s Symposium, where he quotes the ancient Greek playwright, Aristophanes. To summarize:

“In primal times people were globular spheres who wheeled around like clowns doing cartwheels. There were three sexes: the all male, the all female, and the “androgynous,” who was half man, half woman. The creatures tried to scale the heights of heaven and planned to set upon the gods. Zeus thought about just blasting them to death with thunderbolts, but did not want to deprive himself of their devotions and offerings, so he decided to cripple them by chopping them in half. After chopping the people in half, Zeus turned half their faces around and pulled the skin tight and stitched it up to form the belly button. Ever since that time, people run around saying they are looking for their other half because they are really trying to recover their primal nature.”

The story opened up a probe into the idea of wholeness, and halves looking for each other in a myriad of ways, drawing attention to the fact that every so often, something clicks. What actually happens in that moment? The duo visited with a neurologist at Princeton University to peer inside the brain with a scanner to learn why. In order to not give away the show in its entirety, listen to see how the story evolves.

As a visual companion to the radio show, Radiolab collaborated with Everynone on the short film, Symmetry which shows the similar and opposite connections in everyday life – i.e. light and day, life and and death, a policeman and robber, and so on. The split screen of images circle back to the original question, what do you think?

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[via Radiolab episode Desperately Seeking Symmetry]


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