A Brief Note On Unity

Making the news early in 1996 was the revelation that piles of rice behave in importantly different ways to piles of sand (Frette et al, 1996). Alas, thus it was shown that piles of sand cannot model all of the "omnipresent multi-scale structures throughout the natural world" (Creutz, 1997), as many scientists, perhaps trying too hard to return to the simplicity of childhoods spent in the sandpit, at that time thought. We may also note that William Blake's claim to comprehend the world in a grain of sand (Blake, 1803) is here conclusively refuted, though possibly he may have been able to comprehend it in a grain of sand and a grain of rice (or perhaps piles of each).

Blake, William. 1803. "Auguries of Innocence", in Nicholson, D. H. S., and Lee, A. H. E. (Eds.), The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1917.

Creutz, M. 1997. "Cellular automata and self-organised criticality", in G. Bhanot, S. Chen, & P. Seiden (Eds.), Some New Directions in Science on Computers, World Scientific, Singapore, New Jersey, & Hong Kong, pp. 147-172.

Frette, V., Christensen, K., Malthe-Sørenssen, A., Feder, J., Jøssang, T., & Meakin, P. 1996. "Avalanche Dynamics in a Pile of Rice", in Nature, Vol. 379, No. 6560, 4 January 1996, pp. 49-52.