A secret dwells deep within the Namib desert. Fairy circles are unexplained bald spots scattered throughout the desert. They are big, sometimes greater than 100 feet in diameter. And organized in a mathematical fashion.
But no one knows who or what causes them.
Scientists seeking for solutions generally fall within two camps: termites or competition among vegetation.
And both explanations seem to be fairly accurate depictions of reality.
The problem with introducing many solutions to a problem is that reality suddenly becomes more complicated than we initially assume it to be. It’s not this or that, but instead both. We simply replace ‘or’ with ‘and’ and everything goes to hell.
Like a saxophone player painting the walls of a raucous nightclub with its jazzy breath, moving in and out of dancing scales, you can’t have one without the other. A song is just as much the notes that aren’t played as it is the ones that are played.
We paint with the complete palette of colors and nothing more.
You choose your own thoughts, your own notes to play in the symphony of life. But by doing so, at the same time, you choose the notes not to play. Your life is as much black as it is white, as much up as it is down. Because without the other extreme helping you set the stage, you wouldn’t know where to go next.
We see duality in other parts of nature as well. For example, light is both a particle and a wave — depending of course how you observe it.
And duality makes nature very difficult to manage and explain. Regardless of how we want the world to operate, she dictates the terms. She’s not this or that; she’s this AND that.
Some scientists now believe that fairy circles can be explained not by a single process, but by a unique-as-a-fingerprint composition formed by two interacting forces… you guessed it: both termites and vegetation. And the proof is coming from a deeper inspection of patterns generated inside the circles.
“Everyone was focusing on the circles and not what was happening in between them,” said Robert M. Pringle, an ecologist at Princeton.
Most people look at the surface… the generic, brutal, and primitive definitions of life: cat, dog, happy, sad, circle, wall, etc.
But by peeling back the layers of the onion, you get a richer explanation of things: cat becomes Tom from the neighborhood who enjoys scraps and head scratches, sad becomes a confusing mixture of optimism and desperation, wall becomes the one you decorate with family photos, etc.
If you only inspect the outside of the circle, you won’t see the glorious patterns generated by the underlying complexity of all things.