Seeking Symmetry: Finding patterns in human health offers a guide through the overwhelming mass of data generated by contemporary science. Starved for the knowledge that would best help us stay healthy, we are simultaneously glutted with an overload of information about the human body. Amidst ubiquitous talk that patient-centered care and lifestyle changes are the keys to personal health, self-neglect and medical overtreatment nevertheless prevail.
The body is rich with symmetries, many of them unknown to us who live in these bodies. Symmetry-seeking reveals certain patterns for understanding the information we have about the body, patterns whose roots lie in embryonic development and in evolution.
- The book’s exploration will guide readers through the parts of their own bodies and introduce tangible, visible examples of symmetry, not only right and left but up and down, male and female, inside and out, as well as symmetries between humans and other species.
- It presents the symmetries of the body’s internal structures that, despite their complexity, are nevertheless simple to understand when viewed with an eye for pattern.
- Through both words and images, this book will illustrate the most foundational of the principles, structures, and processes that decide how bodies function.
- A core purpose of the book is to present this knowledge through a lens that makes the information meaningful, by modeling the habit of symmetry-seeking.
The author says of this thought-provoking and challenging book:
‘We present ‘Symmetry Seeking’ as a novel aid to understanding personal health, that might resonate in particular with manual therapists and movement workers. And while we hope that the idea of searching for symmetry, across systems and medical specialties, will transform the way doctors and other healthcare providers approach health and treat disease, the symmetry seeking approach is most powerful in the hands of individuals themselves, not as patients, but as human beings who desire to recover, maintain, and maximize their personal health.
By its nature, the scope of the book is expansive and widely interdisciplinary, reaching beyond medicine and biology, and science into art, story, and other disciplines, such as agriculture, food science and nutrition. We hope to spark an interdisciplinary exchange and offer a model to reveal new opportunities to improve human health. The book will apply symmetry seeking to practical examples from a few representative arenas, such as the reorganization of healthcare, problems in food, industrial farming, and the pharmaceutical industry. While the book will cite contemporary research, we have created a slender volume whose main objective is to spark new thinking and incite readers and researchers alike to make connections between existing data and their own experiences as human beings.’
PART ONE: Symmetries in the human body
Chapter 1: Human architecture: harmonics and proportion
Chapter 2: Heads over tails: mermaids and evolution
Chapter 3: The whole body, with its hidden symmetries
PART TWO: Contemporary mismatches with our ancient design
Chapter 4: Hormones, the common currency across species
Chapter 5: Pharmaceutical agents and their indiscriminate actions
Chapter 6: Foods that fuel the fire: the impact of diet
PART THREE: Institutional systems and personal choices
Chapter 7: Changes in farming and consequences for health
Chapter 8: A medical industry outpaced by the food industry
Chapter 9: Using our heads: how symmetry informs personal choices