Are minerals a rudimentary form of consciousness? Is consciousness a complicated form of minerals? A crystal does not form instantaneously; it grows slowly through a genesis controlled by the availability of substance in solution as molecules in a flow of liquid or vapour. It begins as a seed imposing order as the molecules slot into place. The substance communicates this order forming crystal next to crystal. Patterns echo one another on scales of hundreds of millions of atoms modifying a simple geometry into ascending orders of complexity. At the boundary between solid and fluid the crystal faces move, sequestering order out of chaos. In this delicate balance the possibilities of this canonical form are endless. Physical details are all different, perfect symmetry rarely occurs; only at the molecular and atomic level may some mathematical centre be shared. Crystals are a window into the infinite, a bridge between the tangible and the invisible, into regions of complex transformation of substance and scale. In this sense a crystal may stand symbolically for the reconciliation of seemingly extreme opposites, of matter and spirit, of substance and essence. DWB

In Search of a Hidden Landscape

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