rule of the ruler

rule of the ruler

 two of my favorite rulers...

two of my favorite rulers...

I had no idea I own so many rulers.  When I started going around the house pulling them out, I just kept thinking of others.  Of course as an architect, they’re a tool of the trade, but I think there’s something else at work.  They’re a part of the same taxonomy as calendars and watches and scales.  I think rulers fulfill a deep human need for order.  We want the world to be measurable, understandable.  We also want rules to tell us how to behave and keep everything in order.  It's obvious why the word is the same.

At the same time, we gravitate towards things that seem to break the rules - optical illusions, magic tricks, myths, exceptions, mysteries.  Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise is a classic example: P1: Achilles must first traverse an infinite number of divisions in order to reach the tortoise. P2: it is impossible for Achilles to traverse an infinite number of divisions. C: therefore, Achilles can never surpass the tortoise.  My grandfather loved Lewis Carol’s version in which the tortoise simply refuses to accept the conclusion.  Human will triumphing over logic.   

”So you’ve got to the end of the race-course?” said the Tortoise. “Even though it does consist of an infinite series of distances? I thought some wiseacre or other had proved that the thing couldn’t be done?”
— What the Tortoise Said to Achilles, by Lewis Carroll (1225)
a fan of fans

a fan of fans

urns

urns