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The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture Paperback – October 11, 2005


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The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture + Geometry of Design, Revised and Updated (Design Briefs) + The Golden Section: Nature's Greatest Secret (Wooden Books)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (October 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302590
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Those who read this book are in for a treat, for they may discover a new way of seeing the world, literally. Doczi is to be commended for his scholarship—and vision."— Library Journal

"The clearest, best-illustrated book on the subject."— Ballast Quarterly Review

"A stimulating, eye-opening book for all artists and designers, students of science and psychology, this visually stunning volume unveils the astonishing similarities between the designs of nature and human creativity in art and society."— Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association

"Doczi's book is an excellent introduction to the study of proportions and is also a beautiful, poetic expression of the harmony of the universe."— New Age

About the Author

György Doczi practiced architecture in Hungary, Sweden, Iran, and the United States. He initiated a permanent exhibit on form in nature and art at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, and was a founder of the Friends of Jungian Psychology Northwest. He died in 1995.

Customer Reviews

I learn from it every time i reread it.
the great she-bear
I wish I would have purchased it sooner, fantastic book with great information.
K. Brown
In this, Doczi's work does more resemble mysticism than science.
Ruth Henriquez Lyon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Henriquez Lyon VINE VOICE on October 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
For millenia, naturalists and artists have observed repeating geometrical patterns in natural objects. For example, many two- and three- dimensional structures (such as leaves and seashells) have dimensions that reflect the phi ratio, which is (approximately) 1 to 1.618034. This ratio, known amongst the Greeks as the Golden Mean, and used extensively in their sculpture and architecture, lends structural stability, as well as aesthetic balance, to objects into which it is incorporated.

In The Power of Limits, Doczi, an architect, explores some of these basic ratios underlying structures found in the universe-both natural and manmade. He provides beautiful graphics on each page--photographs, drawings, and diagrams, all in black and white. The images illustrate the concepts presented in the text. There is a lot here about dynamic symmetry and Fibonacci number relationships (which gave us the dimensions for the 8 1/2 x 11 inch page and the 3 x 5 index card). But Doczi also searches for the deeper principle which organizes the harmonic ratios of the Fibonacci numbers. His term for this principle is "dinergy." It is a combination of the Greek word "dia," meaning opposite, and "energy. " Dinergy refers to the generative power of the union of opposites, and according to Doczi, it organizes all the harmonic patterns which combine into physical forms. Each chapter explores dinergy in a different context, such as plants, crafts, animals, art, and philosophy.

While it is true that there are indeed repeating patterns that we can discern in nature, and which lend beauty to our man-made objects, there are those who have criticized the work of Doczi and his predecessors for engaging in a sort of "number mysticism" without scientific support.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth James Michael MacLean on December 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This beautifully illustrated and diagrammed book attempts to show the harmony that exists in nature and all good art and architecture. Not only that, Doczi attempts to weave into this picture, (with some success) Pythagorean concepts of harmony and it's relation to growth in nature.
The essential concept in this book is the 'power of limits.' Doczi shows that this limiting factor is the golden section. And he does it using almost no math! The golden section has the powerful quality that division or expansion by this proportion always leads to harmonious growth. No matter how small or large is the division, there is never anything "left over" to create disharmony. This limiting factor is of transcendental power, thus "The Power of Limits."
Unregulated growth could never achieve anything but randomness, which is not what we observe in nature.
Of course in nature and in life it is impossible to achieve perfection. Yet Doczi elegantly explains how nature compensates for this inability by using the Fibonnaci sequence instead. Profusely illustrated with many detailed, easy-to-understand diagrams, this book is a must for those who wish to understand more deeply how our world is constructed, without wading through a lot of math.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Doczi shows the commonality and connectedness of all things in the universe through the perspective of the golden mean. He does so in such a manner that the expert or layman, the physicist or metaphysicist can readily understand. This is by far the most readable book of its kind.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Looking for a comprehensive source to learn more about the Golden Rectangle, a friend loaned me a copy of this book. Of the sources that I examined, The Power of Limits offers the best treatment and explanations of the many examples of Phi in architecture over more than 5,000 years, the application of the proportions in virtually any construct, and the astonishing variety of occurrences in nature. I ordered my own copy. I highly recommend it to the serious researcher and to the casually curious alike.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Tom W. on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dozci demonstrates with great clarity one of the the great comsmic mathematical cords that runs through the universe. The concepts he articulates are valuable tools- not only for deeper thinking, but for practical design.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Oposum in the Garden on December 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is about recognizing very basic patterns in nature (anatomy of humans and animals, plants, rocks, shells, etc.), universe,arts, crafts, architecture, music,writing, rhythm in poetry.Diverse cultures are covered.The preview of this book can give you quite a good idea how its looks like and how its logic is developed.This is not a book on composition, dealing with design principles teaching how to balance your composition using those principles, if you are in creative profession.

This book is not dealing as much in depth with composition from the view point of art history, although touches it, but it takes a wider, more holistic approach.(You will not find for ex. the analisis how triangles and diagonal lines were applied in composition in order to create harmony in paintings).Historical references range from neolithic times, through antiquity, Renaissance.For ex. the author deals with such universal symbol as pentagram, but not as much from the view point of iconography: it is more about harmonics in a more Pythagorean way, and it is mentioned that this symbol is meanignfull still today , which allows the pentagram to be classified among Jungian archetypes. Or the author touches sightly on the view of unity and harmony laws among Maoris (mana and tapu), American Indians,Minoan art and architecture expressed in its spiral patterns (mother earth symbols, mother and child, symbols of re-emergence, labyrinth). You get the idea.

I think this book can be of great interest to many people who are interested in patterns and proportions: mathematicians, specially if you are into fractal geometry, artists, art historians, architects, craft people, musicians, dancers, scientists, or if you have deeper interest in those areas.
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