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  • Writer's pictureKatarzyna Hasnik

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

An ecosystem is a complex community of living organisms (biotic components) interacting with their non-living environment (abiotic components). This includes the relationships, interactions, and exchanges of energy and matter within a particular area. Ecosystems can vary greatly in size and scope, ranging from a small pond to a vast rainforest or even the entire planet.

Here are key components of an ecosystem:

Biotic Components:

  • Producers: Organisms such as plants and algae that produce their own food through photosynthesis.

  • Consumers: Organisms that obtain their energy by consuming other organisms. Consumers include herbivores (eat plants), carnivores (eat other animals), and omnivores (eat both plants and animals).

  • Decomposers: Organisms, like bacteria and fungi, that break down dead organic matter, recycling nutrients back into the ecosystem.

Abiotic Components:

  • Physical Environment: This includes factors like temperature, humidity, soil composition, and topography.

  • Chemical Environment: The presence and availability of essential elements and compounds in the soil and water.

  • Climate: The prevailing weather conditions in a particular region.


  • Symbiosis: Relationships between different species, which can be mutualistic (both benefit), parasitic (one benefits at the expense of the other), or commensalistic (one benefits, and the other is unaffected).

  • Predation: The act of one organism (predator) consuming another (prey).

  • Competition: The struggle between organisms for limited resources, such as food, water, and shelter

Energy Flow and Nutrient Cycling:

  • Energy Flow: The transfer of energy through the ecosystem, typically starting with the sun and passing through various organisms in the food chain.

  • Nutrient Cycling: The recycling of essential elements (like carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) through the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem.

Ecosystems play a crucial role in maintaining life on Earth by providing essential services such as clean air and water, nutrient cycling, and habitat for a diverse range of species. They are dynamic and can adapt to changes, but they are also vulnerable to disturbances and human activities that can disrupt their balance. Studying ecosystems is essential for understanding ecological processes and for developing sustainable practices to protect and conserve our natural environment.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

Platonic solids

Platonic solids are a fascinating topic in geometry. There are five regular convex polyhedra, known as the Platonic solids, each having equal faces, equal angles, and equal edge lengths. These solids have been studied since ancient times and are named after the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who associated them with the elements.

The five Platonic solids are:

  1. Tetrahedron: A four-faced solid with equilateral triangles as its faces.

  2. Cube: Also known as a hexahedron, it has six square faces.

  3. Octahedron: This solid has eight equilateral triangle faces.

  4. Dodecahedron: With twelve regular pentagon faces.

  5. Icosahedron: A solid with twenty equilateral triangle faces.

These solids have unique properties, and they are important in various fields such as geometry, crystallography, and even philosophy.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

The association of Platonic solids with the classical elements (fire, earth, air, water, and cosmos) is a fascinating and historical way of connecting geometry with ancient philosophical concepts. Each element was believed to have its own unique characteristics and properties.

Let's explore how these associations might connect and collaborate:

  1. Tetrahedron (Fire): Fire is often associated with energy, transformation, and dynamism. The tetrahedron, with its sharp points and stability, could symbolize the energetic and transformative nature of fire.

  2. Cube (Earth): Earth is stable, solid, and associated with the material world. The cube's regular and equal sides might represent the stability and structure found in the earthly elements

  3. Octahedron (Air): Air is linked to communication, movement, and change. The octahedron, with its dual pyramids, might symbolize the flowing and dynamic nature of air, as well as the interconnectedness of ideas and communicatio

  4. Dodecahedron (Cosmos): The dodecahedron, with its twelve faces, has been historically associated with the cosmos or universe. It could represent the celestial and all-encompassing nature of the cosmos.

  5. Icosahedron (Water): Water is fluid, adaptable, and often associated with emotions. The icosahedron's multiple triangular faces might reflect the fluidity and adaptability found in water.

In a collaborative sense, you can explore these associations further in various ways:

  • Symbolism: Consider how the characteristics of each Platonic solid align with the properties traditionally attributed to the corresponding element.

  • Artistic Expression: Use these associations as inspiration for artistic projects or representations that blend geometry and elemental symbolism.

  • Philosophical Exploration: Reflect on the historical and philosophical implications of connecting these geometric shapes with elemental concepts.

  • Educational Endeavors: Explore these connections in educational settings, using them as a way to teach both geometry and ancient philosophical ideas.

Remember, these associations are symbolic and philosophical, and interpretations may vary based on cultural, historical, or personal perspectives.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

The Pythagorean comma

The Pythagorean comma is a concept in music theory related to tuning systems. It represents the discrepancy between pitches derived from the Pythagorean tuning system and those derived from just intonation.

In the Pythagorean tuning system, intervals are derived from the ratios of small whole numbers. For example, the perfect fifth is represented by the ratio 3:2, and the perfect fourth by 4:3. However, when you stack these intervals to create a circle of fifths, you end up with a pitch that is slightly different from the starting pitch. This discrepancy is known as the Pythagorean comma.

The Pythagorean comma is approximately equal to 23.46 cents (1 cent is 1/100th of a semitone). This difference in pitch becomes noticeable when moving through many different keys or harmonies, and it led to the development of alternative tuning systems, such as just intonation, meantone temperament, and equal temperament, which seek to distribute these discrepancies more evenly.

In the context of music, this comma is a significant factor in the historical development of tuning systems and the understanding of harmony.

Shall Designers pay attention to numerology according to the Pythagorean school? Well, why not?

The colours of different components in a particular context.

Components in various fields, such as electronics, physics, or even design, can be represented by different colours for clarity or to convey specific information.

For example:

  1. Electronics: Different components in electronic circuits are often color-coded for easy identification. Resistors, capacitors, and inductors may have color bands indicating their values.

  2. Physics: In physics, different particles or elements may be represented by specific colors for visualization in diagrams or educational materials.

  3. Design: In design and user interfaces, different components or elements may be assigned specific colours for aesthetic or functional reasons.

Colours can be associated with for example:

  1. Red: Often associated with passion, energy, warmth, and sometimes danger. In terms of components, red might be used for power indicators or important warnings.

  2. Yellow: Associated with brightness, optimism, and energy. In terms of components, yellow might be used for caution labels or to indicate specific types of elements in electronics.

  3. Violet: A color associated with creativity, luxury, and mystery. In electronics, violet or purple might be used for resistors with specific values.

  4. Blue: Often associated with calmness, stability, and reliability. In electronics, blue might be used for capacitors or other components.

  5. Magenta: A vibrant and intense color, often associated with innovation and modernity. In electronics, magenta might be used for special indicators or components.

  6. Green: Associated with nature, growth, and sometimes safety. In electronics, green might be used for grounding or indicating safe conditions.

These associations can vary depending on cultural and contextual factors.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

Component colours in Newtonian versus Goethe's light distribution

Isaac Newton and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had different perspectives on the nature of colour and light. Newton's approach, often referred to as the Newtonian colour wheel, is based on the idea that white light is composed of different colours and can be separated into its individual components through a prism. This results in a spectrum of colours, with violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

On the other hand, Goethe, a German poet, scientist, and philosopher, had a more holistic and qualitative approach to colour. He focused on the psychological and emotional aspects of colour perception. In Goethe's colour theory, colours are divided into two main categories: the "warm" colours and the "cool" colours. He associates blue and violet with darkness and considered them to be "cool" colours.

Newtonian Perspective:

  • Violet is often considered one of the colours in the spectrum obtained by breaking down white light. It is located at the shorter wavelength end of the spectrum.

  • Blue is also part of the spectrum, following violet and having a slightly longer wavelength.

Goethe's Perspective:

  • Both violet and blue might be considered as part of the "cool" colours associated with darkness in Goethe's colour theory. However, the emphasis is more on the overall emotional and perceptual qualities rather than specific wavelengths.

It's essential to note that these two perspectives on colour are quite distinct. Newton's approach is more rooted in physics and the analysis of light, while Goethe's is more focused on the subjective and emotional experience of colour. Each perspective provides valuable insights into our understanding of colour and has influenced various fields, including art, science, and philosophy.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

Let's explore the interconnectedness of Platonic solids, the Pythagorean comma, and the component colours in both Newtonian and Goethe's light distribution (specifically violet-blue):

Platonic Solids as 5 Elements:

  • Consider the symbolic connections between the five Platonic solids and the classical elements:

    • Tetrahedron (Fire)

    • Cube (Earth)

    • Octahedron (Air)

    • Dodecahedron (Cosmos)

    • Icosahedron (Water)

  • These associations highlight the historical blending of geometry and philosophical concepts, providing a symbolic representation of the elements through geometric shapes.

Pythagorean Comma:

  • Explore the Pythagorean comma, a small but significant difference in pitch that arises from the Pythagorean tuning system in music.

  • Connect the mathematical precision of intervals in music with the harmonious and mathematical nature of Platonic solids. Consider how both involve mathematical relationships and ratios.

Component Colours in Newtonian vs. Goethe's Light Distribution (Violet-Blue):

  • Examine how Newton's colour spectrum, derived from the analysis of white light through a prism, includes violet and blue.

  • Contrast this with Goethe's qualitative approach to colour, where blue and violet are associated with coolness and darkness.

  • Explore the tension between the scientific understanding of colour (Newtonian) and the subjective, emotional experience of colour (Goethe).

Connecting and Collaborating:

  • Consider creating visual representations or artistic projects that incorporate both Platonic solids and colour schemes.

  • Explore the mathematical relationships within music, tying together the Pythagorean comma with the geometric precision of Platonic solids.

  • Reflect on how different cultural and historical perspectives influence our understanding of colour and shape symbolism.

By weaving these concepts together, you can create a rich interdisciplinary exploration that touches on geometry, mathematics, philosophy, music theory, and the visual arts.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

The concepts of Platonic solids, the Pythagorean comma, and component colours in Newtonian vs. Goethe's light distribution could metaphorically represent key aspects of an ecosystem, such as the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park:

Platonic Solids as Ecosystem Elements:

  • Metaphorically associate each Platonic solid with a key ecological element:

    • Tetrahedron (Fire): Representing the energy flow within the ecosystem, perhaps in terms of sunlight and primary productivity.

    • Cube (Earth): Symbolizing the solid foundation of the ecosystem, including the physical landscape and geological features.

    • Octahedron (Air): Representing the dynamic processes of air circulation, weather patterns, and oxygen exchange.

    • Dodecahedron (Cosmos): Signifying the interconnectedness of the ecosystem with broader ecological systems and global influences.

    • Icosahedron (Water): Symbolizing the essential role of water, including rivers, lakes, and the water cycle.

Pythagorean Comma as Harmony in Biodiversity:

  • Compare the Pythagorean comma to the delicate balance required for biodiversity. The reintroduction of wolves, for example, may disrupt certain patterns but contribute to the overall harmony of the ecosystem by controlling prey populations and promoting healthier vegetation.

Component Colors as Symbolic Ecosystem Dynamics:

  • Relate the component colours to various elements within the ecosystem:

    • Red and yellow might represent the energy of the sun and the warmth of the landscape.

    • Blue and violet could symbolize water bodies and the coolness of certain habitats.

    • Green might signify the vegetation and plant life influenced by the balance of herbivores (Earth).

    • Magenta might represent unique or critical components, like keystone species, contributing to the overall system.

Connecting and Collaborating in Ecosystem Management:

  • Consider using these symbolic representations to educate and communicate about the complex dynamics of ecosystems.

  • Explore how the reintroduction of wolves, analogous to the introduction of different musical elements, contributes to a more balanced and resilient ecosystem, reflecting both mathematical precision and natural harmony.

  • Incorporate visual representations and artistic projects to engage the community and promote awareness about the importance of ecological balance.

Our Ecosystem and the concept of Platonic solids, Pythagorean comma, Newtonian and Goethe's light.

In this metaphorical context, these concepts become tools for understanding and communicating the intricate relationships within an ecosystem, highlighting the need for balance, harmony, and interconnectedness.

We walk on this Ecosystem. Let's walk gently by looking at it as a whole concept in every aspect of our lives.

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