Golden Spiral of a Flower

Take a look at this table of contents for a modern geometry textbook and you will see that the closest it comes to touching on spirals is in Chapter 7 where it introduces the golden ratio. Yet, while even fractals are discussed, nowhere is there any suggestion for how spirals and spiral patterns might be useful in describing the world around us.

One might rightly ask is this glaring omission due to the Greek geometry tradition as filtered through the early Church quadrivium? Was the spiral as an ancient symbol of chaos, death and god in nature too diabolical to discuss and so suppressed from Western education? If so, how has this religiously motivated, cathartically purified and spiral-free model of reality managed to continue unchecked into our present day schools?

I believe the answer to this cannot be found in any conspiracy theory. Rather, it is the awesome power of blindness brought about by an educational system that omits inconvenient truths to avoid offending the Church and raise unwanted questions. Teaching the importance of spirals crosses the line from closed and finite geometric models of the universe into a discussion about an open, infinite universe. This, of course, then too easily becomes a religious discussion as to what causes spirals to form and what creative force might lie at their center.

Thus, in the interest of maintaining a thoroughly secular curriculum that will not offend the faithful, an unspoken complicity of convenience has persisted that excludes any mention of spirals in the study of geometry.