A Monotonous Life

Several months ago, my neighbor sent me a link to an obscure diagram created by Athanasius Kircher. The diagram included a caption which caught my attention, and seemed worthy of additional artistic exploration.

“In the above diagram Kircher arranges eighteen objects in two vertical columns and then determines he number of arrangements in which they can be combined. By the same method Kircher further estimates that fifty objects may be arranged in 1,273,726,838,815,420,339,851,343,083,767,005,515,293,749,454,795,408,000,000,000,000 combinations. From this it will be evident that infinite diversity is possible, for the countless parts of the universe may be related to each other in an incalculable number of ways; and through the various combinations of these limitless subdivisions of being, infinite individuality and infinite variety must inevitably result. Thus it is further evident that life can never become monotonous or exhaust the possibilities of variety.”

I really liked the concept behind the idea of this drawing, and the positive message that Kircher was able to gain from it. I began working up the design, and originally used it as an entry for our annual design review. The simplicity of the drawing, the power in the message, and the positive energy that it generates makes it one of my favorite images.