The unending spiral of this shell I found on the beach today whispered “infinity” to me. Any direction you go on the spiral takes you onward and onward. It’s no wonder that the ancients used the spiral, especially the triple spiral, as a symbol on the stones near their important places, possibly ritualistic in nature. These symbols date back several thousand years and are as poignant today as they were back then.
The spiral doesn’t end. It can’t end, even if it wanted to. It appears to have a beginning, but that is not true. It just goes inward to a point where the human eye cannot go beyond, and so it is said to have a beginning, but that beginning is for our eyes only and not for all of reality.
When we think of infinity, if we can think of it at all, we often think of it as starting at a point and moving outward . . . forever. But that isn’t infinity, is it? If it has a starting point, then it’s finite--even if we can’t see the end--and it means that there was something before the start. And that’s not infinity. The truth is that infinity is everything. It’s everything that ever was, is, and will be--all at the same time. There’s no starting point and no ending point. It’s just everything, and it’s human beings who perceive things in a linear fashion on a timeline because that’s the only way we can make sense of it with our limited brains. But that doesn’t mean that’s how it is. It just means that’s how we think it is.
The spiral is everything. We see it in the formation of galaxies, in the phyllotaxis of plants, in the Fibonacci numbers as they approach the golden ratio, and even in the double helix of DNA.
All around this shell is sand made up of former shells and other former living things, now crushed and unrecognizable. This shell heads for the same fate in the never-ending spiral dance of life.