For years, so called Sacred Geometry has fascinated me. Both in physics and spiritual traditions, geometry takes a fundamental place and (I think and hope) studying its diverse implications and applications will take a prominent place in the arts and science (artscience, as I like to call it, like timespace) of the future. Because of this fundamental and prominent role, I take issue with the word Sacred. To explain why, I will first give a definition, taken arbitrarily form Google (but others don’t differ significantly):
connected with God or a god or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.
religious rather than secular
(of writing or text) embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion.
So the word sacred always refers to either a set of religious rules and doctrines, or to a direct relationship with (a) god. This makes any discussion of Sacred Geometry within the realm of artscience quite difficult, because it will always refer to and be in relation to belief systems that may or may not be shared within the artscientific community, resulting at least in miscommunication and in the worst case to conflict and disconnection.
The a look at Wikipedia’s definition of Sacred Geometry and you will quickly see my point:
“Sacred geometry ascribes symbolic and sacred meanings to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions. It is associated with the belief that God is the geometer of the world. The geometry used in the design and construction of religious structures such as churches, temples, mosques, religious monuments, altars, and tabernacles has sometimes been considered sacred. The concept applies also to sacred spaces such as temenoi, sacred groves, village greens and holy wells, and the creation of religious art.”
This association with religion interferes with a clear view of the subject. In subatomic physics, geometry plays an important role. (see: quantum geometry) So much so, that recent studies have led researchers to state:
“The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.” (source: Quantum Magazine)
Until a few centuries ago, science, art and religion where closely entangled in society, with most artists making religious art and most scientists being clerics, monks or other religious figures. This, of course, had a few drawbacks, not so much because of the religious aspect being involved (systems of belief are always at the heart of our perception and it is best not to deny it, as Western Science has done since Descartes, because it obscures the fact that what we believe influences what we experience and all observation is experiential), but because religion has long been hijacked by dogma, ego, conservatism, etc.
It seems to me much could be achieved when ancient religious texts, architecture and artworks that incorporate Sacred Geometric principles would be studied with an open mind, in search of application of geometric rules and concepts found within these works. But any scientist in search of funding for researching anything Sacred, will have a difficult time finding it in any secular institution.
Therefore I propose to do away with the adjective Sacred and replace it with something else, or with nothing. Because in the end it is just geometry that is being studied. But if we would choose to have an adjective, we might want to replace it with something more neutral. For example, we could use the term Universal Geometry or Fundamental Geometry.
Hopefully, this change of terminology would open up possibilities of further research within the walls of more secular places of study, like most Western universities.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this, just as much as your alternatives to the word Sacred.