i.e., that it moved from side to side in a sine-wave motion. As these creatures were observed looking down a microscope tube, all sense of depth was removed from the observer’s point of view. However, our hero, whose name I do not know, one day had a flash of inspiration; just because it looked like a flat wave motion didn’t necessarily mean that this was true. He went to the trouble of constructing a 3 dimensional spiral where it could be rotated (just like a corkscrew) He noticed that if it was rotated in silhouette – it looked exactly like the flat motion of the oxyrris tail! Other biologists later confirmed this observation. Everyone had been looking at the same thing wrongly! The true motion of these organisms’ tails is in 3 dimensions, not 2.
Leaps in understanding dimensional relationships are a fairly common source of scientific breakthrough.
Take an arched bridge, for example. Before someone came up with the idea and the way to build one, it was just an impossible dream. The key to solving the problem is not only the keystone, but also the need to support the two limbs of the bridge with scaffolding, until the keystone is wedged into place and the bridge becomes self-supporting. One day, about 1,800 years later, someone profited from this breakthrough; sheltering under an arched bridge from a downpour, he suddenly thought of the arch above his head and the fact that he could build a certain number of arches in a circle and make a DOME! Therefore keeping everything from getting wet! When he finally got the technical problems ironed out he could even leave a hole in the top of the dome, as the structure is self-supporting without one. Another version is the igloo, which was probably discovered a long time before even arched bridges became fashionable, but then again, snow is easier to handle than great pieces of rock.
Man’s current position within Nature.
A few years ago, I realized an “inverse” dimensional leap regarding spirals. If you look at a spiral from above (or below) it looks like a circle. It takes no imagination to see the circle as a symbol of cyclic phenomena. Even though there is an enormous difference, say, between the time it takes an electron and the Earth to spin on their respective axes, the principle remains the same. Cycles exist in our everyday lives; from simple tasks like washing the dishes, storing them in the cupboard, getting them out, eating on them back to washing them again. Other more complicated cycles include planning long-term projects or problem solving. The initial energy put into the project gains momentum, after a certain time and effort it comes to maturity and the project “bears fruit”. Basically, initial hard work is rewarded later on. However, we all have experiences where initial pleasure leads to the “sour grapes” of pain later! What goes around comes around. Another more complex example appears in Alan Watts’ “The Meaning of Happiness” in which he looks at Man’s developing consciousness in primitive Man and the birth of our ego. Please see the diagram on the next page.