Why We Love Patterns

Cover Image

To say that humans like patterns would be a bit of an understatement.

We are immersed in patterns from the moment we are born. Both natural and manmade patterns dominate the world surrounding us - and we like it this way. We continually choose to wear patterned clothing, use patterned paper, create patterned brickwork, hell, even draw patterned doodles.

Our concepts of visual beauty are profoundly influenced by phi - the ‘Golden Ratio’; a pattern where each part is 1.618 times the previous. In music, chords that follow a regular pattern (like major chords of 1st, 3rd and 5th notes) are generally more popular that chords that do not. Even the structure of songs tends towards the regular pattern of verse, chorus, verse, chorus.

The burning question though is WHY? Why do we like patterns? Why are patterns so comforting to us?

Well, maybe it’s because a pattern repeats. With a pattern, you know what’s coming next. In an uncertain world, maybe we like having some small part of it that is predictable, something we can count on to stay the same. Maybe patterns are the real opiate of the masses - created in order to keep peace in a world where nothing can truly be controlled by the humans inhabiting it.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because patterns are (quite literally) in our double-helix twisting, GATC pattern-loving DNA.

Created: Feb 26, 2014

Tags: prose, patterns

ceceliagavigan Document Media