Ratios For Living

The Knot Garden has written before about the importance of numbers and has mentioned, in passing, ratios such as phi, represented by the Greek letter φ, and the less precise one, generally expressed as 80:20, that underpins Pareto’s Principle.

The Golden Ratio has intrigued some of history’s greatest minds for two and a half thousand years. The actual number, which approximates to 1.618, has remarkable geometric properties that have been recognised and applied by mathematicians, architects, observers of the natural world and (more recently) financial markets traders. Many people claim to have found evidence that φ was used in the design of the Parthenon and the ratio was subsequently given formal mathematical treatment by several prominent individuals, including Euclid and Leonardo de Pisa – otherwise known as Fibonacci.

The Knot Garden, when it finally starts to take shape, will no doubt manifest the Divine Proportion, to use another expression for φ, because of its elegant derivation and pleasing aesthetic. I find these to be more compelling reasons for using the ratio than any mystical attributes that people might imagine the number possesses.

But that time is still a long way off. And in the meantime there is much living to be done. And I am thinking more and more that I can use ratios in a loose, simplistic way to improve certain areas of my life.  The enhancements I have in mind will take the form of a more favourable balance.

I am starting 2018 with a significant step forwards, for I have negotiated an extra work-from-home day. Henceforth I will be home-based on Mondays as well as Fridays, saving me valuable time and money. I will be able to work more effectively and my quality of life will be upgraded.

Although I do not need a ratio to tell me that the extra work-from-home day will improve my life, I nevertheless find such numerical representations useful. They are, after all, very much a part of my nature. I am reassured that the ratio of home-working time to office-working time has increased by a factor of 3.33 from 0.200 to 0.666. The metric gives me a benchmark to work from.

I have considered the informal application of ratios to other aspects of my life. Omega-3 PUFAs to Omega-6 PUFAs, raw food to cooked food, vegetables to meat, water to beer, reading to television, walking to bus travel. The possibilities are endless.

The Knot Garden approves of the use of ratios in a light – even playful – manner. These numbers can truly help us to visualise the balance in our lives and to monitor progress towards our goals.

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