Perspectives

  • Issue 98 / March - April 2014



    The Rhythm in the Universe

    Kemal Serce

    A splendid order and an amazing harmony seem to govern the operation of this universe. Big or small, everything is in some kind of motion in a regular or periodical pattern which indicates the existence of a rhythm. Every motion in the universe depends on certain laws, which we try to explain with mathematical formulas. Rhythm is an expression of motion with numbers - it is the language of numbers. It is possible to study natural sciences thanks to this orderly flow in existence and the prevalent laws. Rhythms that appear through existential motions in the universe are like the harmonious sounds made by hitting musical instruments at certain intervals. Electrons revolve around the nucleus, the moon around the world, and the world around the sun. As planets have been moving like whirling dervishes around the sun for millions of years, the Milky Way and billions of galaxies in the universe constantly keep turning in space, whose boundaries we are unable to define, in a realm of ether. As the world completes rotating around its own axis in 24 hours, it orbits around the sun with a speed of 30 km/hr and it does not even make a second's delay in completing its yearly tour. A crowded family formed by the other nearby worlds and their satellites are travelling toward the Vega system with a speed of 220 km/second. Thanks to this rhythmic order, the orbits of planets and their positions at a given date, the times for lunar and solar eclipses, and changes with the length of days and nights, can be predicted years in advance, or calculated for historical times. The repetitive nature of these movements and continuity of the present order, for millions of years, show that everything depends on a certain plan and law, and that nothing acts on its own. There is no place for coincidence when things happen within a frame of laws, where order and rhythm exist.

    The continuity of existence depends on the repetition of existing motions within a certain period - namely, on rhythmical motion. The cessation of motion in the cosmos would mean the non-existence of rhythm. It is not possible to talk about rhythm without motion and activity. This movement in existence must have a meaning and purpose. It is exceedingly difficult to explain, with physical laws, why existence came to be and the purpose in this motion. In addition, why this motion began and how long it will last, cannot solely be explained with physical laws. However, there is great meaning in this harmonious turning; an unbroken bond in existence, and a unity. Everything uses a silent language to give a meaningful message to insightful hearts. Then, how is this message supposed to be read and understood?

    As we understand from holy scriptures, existence is made subservient to humanity. Existence stands as a means for human comprehension of the meaning within. A person who can view existence with eyes of wisdom and manages to hear creation's silent melody becomes enraptured with this rhythm and feels like a whirling dervish awed by the Divine.

    Rhythm in nature
    There exists a balance in nature and a meaningful bond between beings. As everything runs in harmony, beings both help and compensate for one another. The sun, the earth's source of energy and light, and essential for the continuity of life, is made dependent on a certain order with its rhythmical motion; the world and other planets move in accordance with this main rhythm. Day and night happen by the earth's spinning around its axis, which is another rhythmical and constant occurrence. An absence of rhythm causes uncertainty and the situation is defined as chaos. If the future is completely uncertain, it gives way to utter chaos and life on earth cannot continue.

    The holistic and integrated nature of beings is reflected in human biology, as it is in all living beings. Humans can always perceive, in daily life, that the motions in the universe are in a rhythmical order. As a person comes to this world connected with these rhythms; one can feel their effect in every stage of life and in one's own body. The circular motion that occurs with the periodical repetition of minutes, hours, days, seasons, and years influences us. The inner rhythm we call our "biorhythm" is adjusted in accordance with the order outside, and there is a 24-hour periodical rhythm in daily life. Every individual has an innately given, peculiar, and distinctive bio rhythm special to the person's biological and spiritual structure. As in human beings, a periodical rhythm is observable in many living things' metabolism, heartbeat, and bodily functions, like respiration and sleep; this is known as the circadian rhythm. If the rhythms of living beings are upset, their biological balance is also upset, a situation which can sometimes cause death.

    There is no place for coincidence in the universe; everything runs in a regular order established by the One of infinite wisdom. What brings order to life is the existence of rhythmical motion and the continuity of this order, which gives people a sense of security and makes life easier. One can make daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly plans. For example, the fact that the sun's motion depends on certain physical laws that can be defined with mathematical formulas, and that we see it rising at a certain hour from the same direction every day, gives a sense of comfort to our mind and feelings. Most people do not even worry whether the sun will rise the next day. A person with sound reason does not fall into contradictions while observing occurrences and looks to future with trust. Thanks to periodical occurrences, a person finds a beauty in one's memories and feelings by remembering the past. These recurring seasons can help us to remember things that, otherwise, might be forgotten.

    As an inherent quality of human nature, a person wishes to see an order to social life and expects consistent behavior from others. People with consistent behavior are more preferable as friends and inspire trust in those around them. The order formed as a consequence of individuals' living in harmony can be seen as social rhythm. Just as a social life that respects others' rights, and acting in accordance with the existing order, is peaceful and harmonious, a social life that runs counter to the idea of order and trust can lead to chaos and unrest.

    Arts
    Laws prevalent in existence can also be expressed with arithmetical equations. Mathematical curves, fractals, number series, and many other things reflect a rhythmical pattern and a plan. For example, works executed with the proportions of Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio give aesthetic pleasure to viewers. The eye perceives numerous patterns and motifs formed by ranges of colors, and the ear perceives all melodies and sounds as rhythm. For a person who views creation with eyes of wisdom, the positions of leaves on a tree, a soaring bird, a flowing river, and all of spring's colorful blossoms are causes of admiration and enthusiasm. Beauty appeals to human nature. And what lies in the essence of all art is aesthetic beauty and harmony, which evoke this feeling of admiration. The human reason, spirit, and emotions have their share from the mysterious activities observed in creation; they express these through art. An artist is essentially inspired by this order and harmony in the universe. If art is the name for sensing this rhythm and harmony in the universe, then the artist is a person who expresses this rhythm in one's works. Those who grasp this fine meaning and aesthetic beauty in creation can be said to have caught the true spirit in art.

    Music is the art where rhythm is sensed best. The patterns and harmony in music perfectly agree with the harmony in nature. Perhaps, how music appeals human feelings and gives us delight is a consequence of such a correspondence. A person's recognition of this harmony and rhythm in the universe makes one conform to it and become unified with existence.

    To conclude, humans have not been left to run wild in this world; an order is needed for their material and spiritual life. The balance, harmony, and beauties existing in creation are reflected in human nature as well. Without a rhythmically working order, the balance of life will be upset, chaos will begin, and maybe the world will come to an end!

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