Thursday, June 21, 2012

Symmetry and skateboarding

The natural world consists of various forms of symmetry.

A daisy, for example, can be rotated while continuing to appear upright with every turn. In contrast, the rotation of a human head makes it appear in a different position with each turn: upright, upside down, on its side.

However, the head, alongside the rest of the external - and skeletal - body possesses the symmetry of reflection: the right side mirrors the left. If the human body is split in half vertically, the two sides perfectly parallel one another.

Honeycomb exhibits another form of symmetry termed translation,
where any cell of the comb can replace any of its bordering cells without appearing out of place. This of course does not apply to the human body or a daisy where substituting one part with another may be anomalous.          

Still pure water contains all three forms of symmetry. If rotated, water will continue to appear upright; if split into two halves, both bodies of water will perfectly reflect one another; and, any part of water can translate into any other part.  

 Three of these forms of symmetry are visible in a skateboard:

1. The wheels, like the daisy, exhibit rotational symmetry. Regardless which way they're rotated, they'll appear upright.

 2.  Cut in half along its length, a skateboard's two sides will reflect one another like the sides of the human body.

3. Any section of the top side of grip tape, like the cells of honey comb, can translate into another section.  

But where is the all inclusive symmetry of water to be found in skating?

The Torah compares the human spirit to water: 'Pour out your heart like water...'(Jeremiah). Unlike  common psychological models which view the human psyche as comprising 'parts' - I.e. emotion, intellect, creativity, bravery, love, will, etc - Kabbalah teaches that the soul, like still water, is completely simple and symmetrical. And, as water appears to lose its homogeneity when disturbed, the soul appears to manifest diverse qualities when agitated by the body.

The soul of a skater who can maintain inner calm and concentration while skateboarding manifests the fourth kind of symmetry...      


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