Mobius Strip Mindset

The Illusion of Loss

Mobius strip

The theme for my blog has been quite a journey. There are a number of topics which have wanted to ooze out of my pencils, such as loss of a child, the idea of fear, and of course the loss of what one might call normalcy on planet earth. Somehow I thought education and art should play a part. Maybe I could philosophize about reality. My best friend (my hubby) and I were brainstorming potential themes. One idea that popped out of his mouth was Mobius strip.

As I’d not played with a Mobius strip for some time, I made one. I also created some other related but different strips. Once I began analyzing how these strips perfectly illustrated some prominent concepts of reality, I knew I had my theme. The fun part is when I asked him why he came up with Mobius strip, he didn’t know – it just planted into his head! (He is a gardener after all!)

M.C. Escher, the master of representing seeming impossibilities on a 2-D surface, made a work representing this strip: .

One of my most memorable activities as a sixth grader (a few years ago) was making Mobius strips. I bet you’d enjoy this activity, too! To a child and even an adult, its properties seem quite mysterious. The best way to demonstrate their characteristics is to use a paper which has light on one side and dark on the other. This can be easily achieved by coloring one side of a white sheet of paper.

Cut three long strips. Two examples will not be Mobius strips, but one will. Tape the two ends of the first strip together without any twist so it resembles an ordinary ring. Then draw a pencil line around the inner circumference without lifting your pencil until you’ve completed the loop.

Will this be a mobius strip?

First strip with no twists as well as a drawn dividing line

Next, grab a pair of scissors and snip only along the line. The example below shows this cut will result in two completely separate rings. It represents the sense of duality or opposites. In side and outside are distinctly separate as are light and dark. The two rings have no connections. The initial ring lost part of its identity, much as a parent losing a child or a human losing what our world once was.

First strip following the cut

Hmm, maybe this one is a mobius strip?

Now the second strip gets a bit more interesting! With this strip, twist it twice. The taped ends will match dark to dark on one side and light to light on the other. Even though the inside and outside are still not joined, the twisting makes both simultaneously visible. Placing your pencil on the light side only, trace the circumference of the strip without lifting your pencil.

Second strip with two twists and traced circumference

Now cut the second strip, again only on the line. The most unique characteristic of this one is that the two rings, even though separate, are linked together! This represents humanity as a whole beginning to work together. It speaks of starting to understand the big picture of reality.

Second strip after cutting

Finally, a real mobius strip!

Finally, we are ready for the third and final strip, the actual Mobius strip! With this one, just do one twist prior to taping the ends. There will be a joining of light to dark on the inside as well as the outside. To be clear, the first two strips are not Mobius strips, but merely extensions to explore the behavioral properties of these particular 2D surfaces. With those first two, your pencil only drew on one side of the strip. However, you may be amazed while drawing on the third strip that you will be able to draw on both sides of the paper without lifting your pencil! (Amazingly, all three of these examples, even the Mobius strip, are mathematically considered only two dimensional. Some resources call them a 2D-3D crossover. Artistically, 2D-3D seems more accurate!)

Mobius strip with traced circumference

The most fascinating fact regarding cutting the Mobius strip is that the rings do not separate, but they elongate into one large loop when cut through the length of the strip. It has the appearance of an infinity sign. If one were to cut down the center of the strip again, it would continue lengthening the loop.

Mobius strip with one cut

With the lovely Mobius strip, inside and outside become one. Light flows into dark; dark flows into light. For if it were not for the dark, we would not know the light. The perceived loss of a part of the ring, of a child, of the world becomes expansion, a larger reality. This is my Mobius strip mindset. Real loss is truly only an illusion. Welcome to my world!

Published by Linda M. Wolfe

Midwestern mystic with varying amounts of mother, teacher, artist, seeker

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