Meaning Golden Mean

July 17, 2015 “Rhythms apparent to the eye are at the root of artistic creation. They resound in man by an organic inevitability which causes the tracing out of the Golden Section by children, old men, savages and the learned.”


  • Le Corbusier

“Desirable middle between two extremes” - Aristotle

“Doctrine of the mean” - Confucius

“The Middle Way” - Buddhism

“Nothing in Excess” - Delphic temple carving- Ancient Greece

“Proportion is related to beauty and goodness” - Plato

“The pure crystals that harness, guide, enable and valorize cosmic forces:  salt” - JHB

There is part of the human brain that just sits back and laughs / cries at the hodge-podge “self” you have constructed ( ended up with). It sends you dreams to mock you. It wakes you up to piss.

In my dream I toss a rock against a steel door and the noise wakes me up to micturate.

I dream of a colossal wave and the fear wakes me up to piss

I dream of wading in a flooding river and wake up to urinate

I have a jolting mini-nightmare to wake me up to take a leak

RE: A Thousand Plateaus-capitalism and schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

The purulent oscillation between brilliance and logorrheic garbage is dizzying. Two thirds garbage and one third brilliant insight. It is worth the crappy, sophomoronic, quasi-scientific, marxist, homophilic outsider clap-trap to get the rhizomatic refrain such as it is - refried Straussian structuralist dualism, Saussurian synchronic-diachronic reframing, Chomsky-nods, the usual suspects of Western philosophy Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, et al.

I have an inborn sense of the golden proportion. I can create a golden rectangle at will time after time without using a ruler, by “eyeballing” only - .618:1.00 every time.  I can sense when a graphic design, a painting or a work of architecture is “IN” proportion. This is a blessing and somewhat of a curse as so much of the built environment is out of proportion thus always a little jarring. This visual acuity may be related to perfect pitch in the audio realm - who knows? This sense allows me to create building designs and artworks that please most viewers - those with an esthetic sense. I know “where to put the lines” when designing buildings. I also have a sense of color harmony. I can tell when colors are harmonious or not. I know how to mix colors in 10,000 hues to achieve color balance in a painting, if balance is desired - sometimes it is not. Knowing color allows a painter to orchestrate harmony and dissonance for emotional effect. I am developing the ability to do this in music. I am a beginner in music but can make some small delights by manipulating keynotes, fourths, fifths, thirds - minor and major simple progressions.

My question is this. How are the senses linked in the brain to make esthetic judgements? It seems as if the visual and audio senses share the same fundamental proportional rules i.e. a piece is either in harmony or not independent of good or bad criticism which is always a matter of fads, movements, fashion, style. During the Mannerist era  artwork was elongated i.e. out of proportion. Out of proportion was in style. Nowadays art is independent of much visual criteria - it meets a political-racial-gender program or it doesn’t.

If the brain has an “esthetic control center” when and why did it evolve? Does the ability to sense proportion help one to choose a healthy mate thus enhancing the quality of the species genome? Did it help during the hunt? A fat or skinny animal was more vulnerable to being tracked down and killed than an animal that is in proportion. An animal that is in proportion, signaling good health, will be stronger and better able to hunt the hunter. The brain developed the capacity to make fine proportional distinctions that send life or death information. Is the control center in the neocortex or in the brainstem-basal ganglia?

Do other mammals have esthetic sensibility? Do birds, fishes and insects and arachnids have it? A spider web is one of the world’s most sublimely beautiful structures. Could a spider web be woven without an esthetic sense?  If so, what genes are involved? Is there a set of broadly and deeply conserved genes such as the HOX group that enable animal brains to make esthetic-survival judgements? Have humans taken a survival skill and exapted it into our neocortical artistic realm with accompanying social agenda? Hey! this esthetic sensitivity works for hunting but look at this -I can paint a beautifully proportioned  herd of bison on the wall of our cave for the amusement of all and to enhance my status in the clan as an artist, a shaman who can re-create important real things in paint for use in animal abundance rituals. Prehistoric bird-like animals evolved feathers for insulation and discovered that they could be used for flight. did humans discover a new use for their esthetic survival package?

What does the golden mean mean? It is a baseline for all sensory judgement?  Is there a golden mean for smell and taste?  How about touch? or vomeronasal sense? The ideally proportioned pheromone that signals great interpersonal chemistry and true love-lust. Is there a universal donor pheromone as in blood type? A person who is magnetic to all? Is this what charisma is all about? Are Bill Clinton and Barack Obama chemically charismatic? What percentage of their personal power comes from their esthetics, their “lookin’ good” factor. What makes people of both sexes want to give charismatics whatever they want? Is there a lock on to one’s golden mean sensitivity?

Is there a deep knot of neurons that govern all senses that serves as a thalamic-type clearinghouse for afferent neuronal connection-distribution from sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, vomeronasal sense? Is there a rhizomatic network that interconnects all senses so that they work together to make judgments for further action. A pre- neocortical assembler that gives a “go-no go” opinion to the higher neocortical reason at prefrontal lobe? The brain gives the person or the matter at hand the “smell” test. My foamcore architectural model has helped me make judgements about the proportions of my building. I can sniff around the relationships of the various formal elements. What looks better four arches or five? Should this tower be an additional fifteen feet tall?

Late 19th Century American architect H.H.Richadrson stood in front of his masterpiece Boston’s Trinity Church as the tower was being constructed and quite independent of his office construction drawings, instructed the contractor to remove built stonework and make the church tower fifteen feet taller  because it “felt’ different in real life at full scale than it “felt” as building elevations on the working drawings.

A good architect makes 1,000 esthetic judgements most of which are beyond the threshold of normal sensitivity that all contribute to a house feeling just right to clients.

Have you seen a photograph of someone that made them look attractive only to be disappointed in your real life encounter? They looked as good as in the photo but something wasn’t clicking.

Charles Darwin colleague T.H. Huxley on human consciousness:

“As the steam whistle which accompanies the work of a locomotive engine is without influence upon its machinery.”  JB corollary: …..unless three toots on the whistle signal anarchists to blow up the whole train.

JB Theory: The human mind ( the animal mind - perhaps the plant mind) makes aesthetic-type judgements using every sense at many levels of review for countless judgements guiding action, belief, opinion and executive function in humans. There is a golden mean at work, our structuralist waffle iron,  in the fastnesses of the thalamus,  the batter of the exterior world is cooked cross-checking, filtering and coordinating this sensory input and in so doing,  enacting consciousness. The Golden Mean is the key to human consciousness, the fountainhead of perception.

  • 1:38 pm - 7/17/15