Flower of Life and the number 6
The Flower of Life is a simple design made of overlapping circles.
What makes it so important is that it shows the fundamental symmetries that are inherent in empty space.
The fact that 6 identical circles fit absolutely perfectly around a seventh one has ramifications that percolate through every level of reality.
There is no denying that conceptualizing space in terms of right angles and squares is a useful tool for understanding and manipulating reality. We measure space in 2 dimensional squares and 3 dimensional cubes. We have historically found it to be easiest to use the 90 degree, right angle, cubic symmetry to arrange the elements in architecture and most other fields where containing space or objects within space is the goal. However, the triangular 60 degree symmetry has at least an equal claim to being the fundamental symmetry group of the Universe as we know it.
Triangles are rigid in a way that no other polygon is because their angles are defined by the ratio of the lengths of their sides. With any other polygon the angles can be changed without changing the length of the sides. This is why we use triangular bracing in our right angle buildings, otherwise they would easily collapse to one side.
The simplest and most symmetrical triangle is the equilateral triangle where all sides are equal length and the angles are 60 degrees. Six of these triangles can touch a centre point to create a hexagon. This again shows the importance of the number six to both the circle and triangle, and the dynamics of space itself.
The Flower of Life shows that the triangular/hexagonal symmetry is inherent in the circle. It also shows that this pattern can be extended symmetrically indefinitely to fill space. The design is 2 dimensional and shows the 2 dimensional triangular space-filling crystalline pattern called by Buckminster Fuller the ‘Isotropic Vector Matrix’, meaning that as a pattern of energy it is balanced in all directions. However, this 2 dimensional pattern has analogs in all higher dimensions based on the same 60 degree, triangular/hexagonal symmetry. In 3 dimensions an example of this is the way oranges are stacked in almost all fruit shops. Each orange except the outer ones will be surrounded by 12 others, and the geometry these 12 others make is called the cuboctahedron. It is the smallest embodiment of this symmetry group in 3 dimensions and has many remarkable properties. Buckminster Fuller called it the Vector Equilibrium, meaning that as an energy structure it was perfectly balanced.
Below is a very nice example of how deeply embedded the number 6 is into number and space.
The numebers from 1 to 36 add up to 666.
Here they are laid out on the hexagonal grid so that 21 different groups of 6 of them add up to 111.