Tag Archives: Platonic Solids

Plato Does Us a Solid

Plato Does Us a Solid

Okay, so we all know there are five Platonic solids. The tetrahedron, the hexahedron, known as the cube to you squares out there, the octahedron, the dodecahedron, and the icosahedron. They have four faces, six faces, eight faces, twelve faces, and twenty faces, respectively.

We also all of us know that three of them have the same flat polygons for all their faces. And we all know, of course, that that shape is the equilateral triangle. I need not explain what an equilateral triangle is, because we all know that.

The other two Platonic solids, the hexahedron and the dodecahedron, have a square for each of its faces and a pentagon for each of its faces, again respectively.

Now, as we all know, Plato didn’t come up with these solids on his own. Some other Greeks talked about them before Plato fixated on them, most notably Pythagoras and Plato’s pal, Theaetetus.

Plato wrote most of his ideas about his solids in his dialog “Timaeus”, which we have all read and therefore know well. I’m sure you all thought as I did, that he just went on and on and on about his precious solids until poor Timmy Timaeus damn near fell asleep. I know I nearly did.

I perked up a lot though, when Socrates and the gang at Plato’s academy started equating each of the solids with one of the elements. The real elements, earth, water, fire, and air, not those fancy shmancy ones we have these days. Earth was associated with the cube, air with the octahedron, water with the icosahedron, and fire with the tetrahedron.

Now, if you’ve been counting, that’s only four elements and four solids. Where did the dodecahedron scoot off to? What was its element? Plato only said, “…the god used [it] for arranging the constellations on the whole heaven”. That would require a whole other quasi-theory to explain, a bunch of them, really. We all know, though, that the dodecahedron is the ether. That’s what most of the other ancient Greek philosophers thought. The ether is the first element from which the other four evolve.

Why would Plato say the god used ether to paste the stars in the sky? Well, we all know that the Sanskrit word for ether is akasha, and the akasha, in the form of chidakasha, the ether of the mind, is the mind of god wherein all of everything exists. God thinks and the thought appears in the ether, later to be manifested successively in, and through, the lower elements. But we all knew that.


First shared on the Squatcher’s Lounge Podcast:

For the reading impaired, an audio version of this quasi theory may be found here:

Beach Balls


What’s the Big Deal About 12?

Summer is coming and a lot of us will head to the beach. Beaches imply beach balls. When you go to buy your beach ball this year, which you will need to do because last year’s will inevitably leak when you try to blow it up this year, buy a baker’s dozen of them.

Yup, thirteen, because you will then be able to demonstrate to yourself, the kids, and everyone else at the beach, exactly why there are twelve signs in the zodiac.

Take those beach balls and blow them up, but not so much that they are tightly inflated. Then get the wife, kids, and maybe some other beach goers to help you put one ball in the middle and the other twelve around it, so that each ball is touching the one in the middle. Now mush them together a bit more tightly. If you squint down between the 12 outer balls, you can just make out that the one in the middle has become a Platonic solid, specifically, a dodecahedron.

The dodecahedron has twelve sides. Each side is a pentagon with equal sides and angles. Of the five Platonic solids, the dodecahedron was the highest. It represented the cosmos, the beautiful order of the universe. Aristotle later claimed that it represented the ether, but then there were other members of Plato’s academy who claimed that Plato would say, when Aristotle would enter a discussion, “Here comes the ass.”

Now Plato also said that he came up with nothing really new and he’s right. He did not invent beach balls, for example. He did say, though, that the universe was organized and influenced by demons.

In Greek, that word was pronounced “daimones”, which meant intelligent influences, much like the theoi, or gods. They were not evil as such, but were lower emanations from the creative source of the cosmos, which the Greeks called the logos, or reason.

The later Christians, who applied the word pagan to all the older religions, converted the word daimones to mean something evil. But then the word pagan originally meant something like, hillbillies, bumpkin, and local yokel. Christians are so disrespectful to us pagans.

So some of these daimones had spheres of influence which moved with seasons, and therefore could be kept track of. The cosmos being twelve sided, there had to be twelve main influences. You can’t easily keep track of twelve spheres sliding around in the sky, not with just paper and pencil, or clay and stylus, as the case maybe, so they invented the zodiac. It’s a circle. It is very easy to divide a circle into twelve pie shaped segments using only a compass, and then chart you’re zodiacal observations and calculations onto your astrological pie chart.

There you go then. Twelve as a basic number of the universe. Throw in the fives sides of the pentagon and five times twelve equals sixty. Sixty minutes, sixty seconds, three hundred sixty degrees. It’s that simple.

This has been Dean Cooper, quasi-scientist, enlightening you with my quasi-theory of the week.

Originally presented on The Squatchers Lounge Podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS-_GJ5TQp0