Holiday Inspiration - Gold


I was recently told that when Gold is heated it still retains its original properties, its luster, its shine. Gold has been used as a symbol for purity, value, royalty, and particularly roles that combine these properties.

Gold represents great value. Respected people are treated with the most valued rule, the "golden rule.".

In popular culture gold holds many connotations but is most generally connected to terms such as good or great, such as in the phrases: "has a heart of gold", "that's golden!", "golden moment", "then you're golden!" and "golden boy". Gold also still holds its place as a symbol of wealth and through that, in many societies, success.

Aristotle in his ethics used gold symbolism when referring to what is now commonly known as the "golden mean". Similarly, gold is associated with perfect or divine principles, such as in the case of Phi, which is sometimes called the "golden ratio".
In philosophy, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. For example courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.

To the Greek mentality, it was an attribute of beauty. Both ancients and moderns realized that there is a close association in mathematics between beauty and truth. The poet John Keats, in his Ode on a Grecian Urn, put it this way:

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

The Greeks believed there to be three 'ingredients' to beauty: symmetry, proportion, and harmony. This triad of principles infused their life. They were very much attuned to beauty as an object of love and something that was to be imitated and reproduced in their lives, architecture, Paideia and politics. They judged life by this mentality.

In Chinese philosophy, a similar concept, Doctrine of the Mean, was propounded by Confucius; Buddhist philosophy also includes the concept of the middle way.

The golden ratio has fascinated Western intellectuals of diverse interests for at least 2,400 years. According to Mario Livio:

Some of the greatest mathematical minds of all ages, from Pythagoras and Euclid in ancient Greece, through the medieval Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa and the Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler, to present-day scientific figures such as Oxford physicist Roger Penrose, have spent endless hours over this simple ratio and its properties. But the fascination with the Golden Ratio is not confined just to mathematicians. Biologists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists, and even mystics have pondered and debated the basis of its ubiquity and appeal. In fact, it is probably fair to say that the Golden Ratio has inspired thinkers of all disciplines like no other number in the history of mathematics.

(Have you seen the Darren Aronofsky film Pi?!)

Beginning in the Renaissance, a body of literature on the aesthetics of the golden ratio was developed. As a result, architects, artists, book designers, and others have been encouraged to use the golden ratio in the dimensional relationships of their works.

The first and most influential of these was De Divina Proportione by Luca Pacioli, a three-volume work published in 1509. Pacioli, a Franciscan friar, was known mostly as a mathematician, but he was also trained and keenly interested in art. De Divina Proportione explored the mathematics of the golden ratio. Though it is often said that Pacioli advocated the golden ratio's application to yield pleasing, harmonious proportions, Livio points out that that interpretation has been traced to an error in 1799, and that Pacioli actually advocated the Vitruvian system of rational proportions. Pacioli also saw Catholic religious significance in the ratio, which led to his work's title. Containing illustrations of regular solids by Leonardo Da Vinci, Pacioli's longtime friend and collaborator, De Divina Proportione was a major influence on generations of artists and architects alike.

The 16th-century philosopher Heinrich Agrippa drew a man over a pentagram inside a circle, implying a relationship to the golden ratio.

Leonardo da Vinci's illustrations of polyhedra in De Divina Proportione (On the Divine Proportion) and his views that some bodily proportions exhibit the golden ratio have led some scholars to speculate that he incorporated the golden ratio in his paintings. But the suggestion that his Mona Lisa, for example, employs golden ratio proportions, is not supported by anything in Leonardo's own writings.

Salvador Dalí, influenced by the works of Matila Ghyka, explicitly used the golden ratio in his masterpiece, The Sacrament of the Last Supper. The dimensions of the canvas are a golden rectangle. A huge dodecahedron, in perspective so that edges appear in golden ratio to one another, is suspended above and behind Jesus and dominates the composition.

Mondrian has been said to have used the golden section extensively in his geometrical paintings, though other experts (including critic Yve-Alain Bois) have disputed this claim.

Some sources claim that the golden ratio is commonly used in everyday design, for example in the shapes of postcards, playing cards, posters, wide-screen televisions, photographs, and light switch plates.

However, these interesting mathematical ratios are found in nature as well.  

Adolf Zeising, whose main interests were mathematics and philosophy, found the golden ratio expressed in the arrangement of branches along the stems of plants and of veins in leaves. He extended his research to the skeletons of animals and the branchings of their veins and nerves, to the proportions of chemical compounds and the geometry of crystals, even to the use of proportion in artistic endeavors. In these phenomena he saw the golden ratio operating as a universal law. In connection with his scheme for golden-ratio-based human body proportions, Zeising wrote in 1854 of a universal law "in which is contained the ground-principle of all formative striving for beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art, and which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical; which finds its fullest realization, however, in the human form."

In 2003, Volkmar Weiss and Harald Weiss analyzed psychometric data and theoretical considerations and concluded that the golden ratio underlies the clock cycle of brain waves. In 2008 this was empirically confirmed by a group of neurobiologists.
(Confirmed? Maybe replicated, but one duplicate study never confirms anything!... STILL THOUGH!)

In 2010, the journal Science reported that the golden ratio is present at the atomic scale in the magnetic resonance of spins in cobalt niobate crystals.

Several researchers have proposed connections between the golden ratio and human genome DNA.

So, on top of the golden mean & the golden ratio & the golden rule & the symbolism of gold - I find it to be an incredibly luxurious, enchanting color. Hence... PICTURES!!

Gold Cake

Golden Blonde

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North

Golden Poppies, CA State Flower

Golden Sunset

Stolen Gold

Golden Natalie Portman, floating on air

Hotel Crillon, Paris

$35,000 Gold Balmain dress (made 7 magazine covers in 2010...)

Beyonce, "Upgrade You" video
 More gold bokeh

So, in the words of Smash Mouth "you'll never shine if you don't glow."

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