If you have read books situated in an earlier timeframe, you may have come across the term ‘Golden Ratio.’ To some, this term represents a number named Phi and to others, it represents the standard of beauty and perfection.
What is Phi?
The mathematical term ‘Phi’ or 𝚽 represents an irrational number that goes on forever, similar to ‘Pi’ or 𝝅. Infamous mathematician Euclid denoted Phi as, “the division in extreme and mean ratio.” There are many interpretations of this number, but a simple analogy is if you take an object and split it into two pieces, the ratio between the two pieces will equal the ratio between the larger piece and the overall object. Now, if this is too conceptual, it may be easier to understand Phi by looking at its equation. One equation is 2𝚽=𝚽+1. This equation is commonly written in the form of the quadratic equation.
𝚽 and the Fibonacci Sequence
Many connections have been made to 𝚽 within mathematics. One of the most prevalent is the relation to the mathematical concept ‘The Fibonacci Sequence.’ So, what is the Fibonacci sequence? It is a pattern of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. How does this connect to 𝚽? Well, some have discovered that when taking the ratio between numbers in the sequence, you start to approach 𝚽. Additionally, the sequence is often commenced from the term 0. If you chose to go back into negative terms, the ratio between numbers ends up closer to the negative value of 𝚽. This relation has lead to an even greater volume of speculation when it comes to the supposed ‘larger than life’ meaning behind 𝚽.
Historical Meaning behind 𝚽
The Golden Ratio dates back to the ancient Greeks. Much of the lore surrounding 𝚽 came about with a mathematician named Luca Pacioli. Pacioli wrote a book demonstrating Leonardo Da Vinci’s use of the Golden Ratio in his drawings. He also claimed that Da Vinci originally referred to it as the ‘Golden Section’ or ‘sectio aurea’ in Latin. The first time I discovered the concept of the Golden Ratio was when reading the “The Da Vinci Code”. In this book, the main character was a symbologist and explained how 𝚽 represented a standard for perfection and beauty.
The Pyramids of Giza and 𝚽
When trying to prove that 𝚽 occurs randomly in nature, the pyramids are one of the most famous explanations. Although, it doesn’t seem to hold up mathematically. Some claim that the base and height of the pyramid are in the Golden Ratio. George Markowski is a mathematician who wrote a paper on the misconceptions surrounding 𝚽. Markowski claimed these assumptions should not be easily accepted. Additionally, he states that many of the objects in nature supposedly conforming to 𝚽 have been measured inaccurately.
When you go looking for a connection, you will find it. I believe that is the reason behind the cultural presence of 𝚽. It is always entertaining to believe there is a greater meaning to the patterns and numbers we may find in nature, but this urge to form connections and understanding often leads to exaggeration and arbitrary ideas. I have found 𝚽 fascinating since it was introduced to me in the Da Vinci Code. Despite this, I have always been wary of its underlying meaning. The concept of 𝚽 representing perfection is unrealistic to me, but then again, we only know what has been proven and that changes every day.