second chances (and more)

The question inevitably comes up: if a kid screws up his (or her) second chance, is another chance to be offered?

If you look to the real world for some guidance into what is natural, fair, and appropriate, whether you realize it or not, we are all presented with multiple “second chances” to either get it right or to do it better. Feedback loops are fundamental to continuous improvement programs in business and industry. Such opportunities are ever-present, endless, and perpetual.

The idea that opportunity only knocks once is at the root of countless human errors, repeated time and again. This is because cycles are everywhere in nature, at every different level.

Like most people, when I was young I was taught that time could be visualized as a straight line, the so-called “arrow of time,” and I believed it. For the longest time, a straight line was the only way I could imagine time.

The problem was, I could never seem to make much sense of why things happen in the world. Everything around me seemed so random and unpredictable. Almost everything seemed to me to be chaotic and a matter of chance and whim.

It was not until I was close to 40 years old that I discovered that my confusion was the result of a misunderstanding of time itself. Time does not proceed in a straight line, but in cycles which spiral through time from day to day and from one year to the next into infinity.

If you do not look for the repeating patterns of phenomena you won’t see them, and you will remain confused.

Then I discovered that there are seasons in each complete cycle of the spiral and that, just as we can predict the coming of winter and what the weather and climate will be like during that season, so we can anticipate and predict the seasonal conditions of anything in the world that’s affected by cycles.

human_life_cycle cropped.

What in the world—or in the Universe for that matter—is affected by cycles? The answer, in two words, is “absolutely everything!”

Everything in the Universe spins.

atomAtoms spin.


solar system 1Solar systems and planets (and moons) spin.


GalaxyGalaxies spin.


If we visualize everything spinning through time, the result is spirals.

african money 2.

Here on Earth, we see spirals everywhere in Nature. Geometric forms in plant growth is called Phyllotaxis, and they are said to be ubiquitous.

Some examples:






You can see spirals in the weather.


You can easily see spirals in the structure of some animal life forms, like this Nautilus shell.

nautilus- flopped.

It’s interesting that mathematicians see in the Nautilus a “Golden Proportion of Nature,” which they describe with a “Fibonacci Series” of numbers (named after a mathematician named Leonardo Fibonacci, who discovered the series and wrote about it over 800 years ago in 1202).


In this series of numbers, each one is the sum of adding together the previous two numbers as follows:

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 etc.




2+3=5 and so forth.

Also, if you also divide any two numbers which are next to one another, the result is an amazing “Golden number.” For example:

34 divided by 55 = 0.618, and 55 divided by 34 = 1.618

This is probably more math than is appreciated by a general audience, but for now it is enough to know that cycles and spirals can be seen by mathematicians through analysis of many kinds of information about events which occur here on earth, in nature and human society.

For example, this chart depicts many of the events in which mathematical analysis shows an important 54-year cycle:

pg_0083 cropped.

The “Ideal Crest” is when different things such as worldwide shipbuilding, rainfall in England, copper prices in the US, and tree growth rings in Arizona timber are the greatest, the most numerous, or the highest.

If you study this chart, you will see two fascinating things.

First, the high-points of these diverse phenomena which have 54-year cycles tend to bunch into relatively narrow time-frames. What this means is that all these 54-year cycles are tending to spin together in unison.

Mathematical analysis shows the same thing happens with shorter and longer cycles, too.

Phenomena which have 100-year cycles tend to spin in unison.

Phenomena which share 30-day cycles spin in unison. Phenomena which have a one-second cycle spin in unison, too. It is like separate clocks in different places all reaching 12:00 at about the same time.

Second, an exception shown in this chart is that sunspots, which also have a 54-year cycle, tend to be most numerous when all the other 54-year cycles are at their lowest levels. Scientists and mathematicians say there is an “inverse relationship” between sunspot activity and, say, shipbuilding or tree growth.

Does this mean sunspots negatively affect shipbuilding, coal production, or warfare? It is easier to see how sunspots might affect tree growth or rainfall—but how can they possibly affect the numbers of ships built, tons of coal mined, or the number of battles fought all over the world?

It is a mystery no one can explain. All we can know for sure is that this coordinated spinning is making things happen in certain patterns. But no one knows why or how, only that It Just Is.

As I said earlier, I did not learn about this until I was almost 40 years old. Before, I was confused and saw everything in the world happening in random and chaotic ways. Yet after I learned about this, all at once I could see pattern in the timing of events. It all made sense to me.

To see the future provides a way to see more possibilities in every present moment. It allows you to be more creative and productive.

It helps you avoid mistakes and their sometimes painful consequences. It allows you to be more patient with the “learning curves” of others. If a young person fails to grab hold of the carousel as a particular pony passes by, by recognizing the cycles in things we know the pony will pass by again.

I wish I had known about cycles from the time I was a young boy. How different might my life have been—how much differently might I have lived the first three or four decades of my life—if I had only known?

If you are a young person—or at least younger than I was when I discovered the cyclic nature of time—you will have an opportunity which I did not. To learn about the underlying patterns which govern events in the world and Universe is a “head start” few people ever get.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Joni Mitchell performing “The Circle Game”


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