The Power of Limits
Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture
By Gyorgy Doczi
(Shambhala, Paperback, 9781590302590, 160pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2005
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One of the delights of life is the discovery and rediscovery of patterns of order and beauty in nature—designs revealed by slicing through a head of cabbage or an orange, the forms of shells and butterfly wings. These images are awesome not just for their beauty alone, but because they suggest an order underlying their growth, a harmony existing in nature. What does it mean that such an order exists; how far does it extend?
The Power of Limits was inspired by those simple discoveries of harmony. The author went on to investigate and measure hundreds of patterns—ancient and modern, minute and vast. His discovery, vividly illustrated here, is that certain proportions occur over and over again in all these forms. Patterns are also repeated in how things grow and are made—by the dynamic union of opposites—as demonstrated by the spirals that move in opposite directions in the growth of a plant.
The joining of unity and diversity in the discipline of proportional limitations creates forms that are beautiful to us because they embody the principles of the cosmic order of which we are a part; conversely, the limitlessness of that order is revealed by the strictness of its forms. The author shows how we, as humans, are included in the universal harmony of form, and suggests that the union of complementary opposites may be a way to extend that harmony to the psychological and social realms as well.
György Doczi practiced architecture in Hungary, Sweden, Iran, and the United States. He initiated a permanent exhibit on form in nature and art at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, and was a founder of the Friends of Jungian Psychology Northwest. He died in 1995.
"Those who read this book are in for a treat, for they may discover a new way of seeing the world, literally. Doczi is to be commended for his scholarship—and vision."— Library Journal
"The clearest, best-illustrated book on the subject."— Ballast Quarterly Review
"A stimulating, eye-opening book for all artists and designers, students of science and psychology, this visually stunning volume unveils the astonishing similarities between the designs of nature and human creativity in art and society."— Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
"Doczi's book is an excellent introduction to the study of proportions and is also a beautiful, poetic expression of the harmony of the universe."— New Age