Fractals in Nature: Self Similarity and Karma
20 Dec 2008
It wasn't until the last quarter of the 20th century that the scientific establishment began to understand the meaning of nature's fractal forms. This understanding is owed in part to Benoit Mandelbrot's solution to some age old mathematical monsters that defied the traditional geometric conventions. While I myself do not attempt understand the feedback loop equations that bring us the iconic fractal plots, the beauty of its understanding is not lost. Beauty in itself is not the only point of this exercise fortunately. I would like to plot a path to the harmony between our mind; its patterns and how nature can help us understand the relationship of a part to its whole.
Prototype and Production
What if nature was one unified mind made up of its myriad of individual parts, which together constitute the whole of consciousness? As parts, we identify with our own separate consciousness as the singular source of understanding in our lives. This separateness is simply the side effect of being apart. In the picture Prototype, the ice does not know its similar heritage to the leaf, Production Model. While we may see the visual similarities, the ego reels at the concept of nature emulating itself in two seemingly dissimilar forms of mater.
Understanding the fractal Nature
A pillar of fractal theory is the concept of Self Similarity. The concept of natural (and manmade!) forms being all fractal at all levels is quickly sinking into many fields of scientific inquiry. The repetition of patterns, expressed in the generated plots of feedback loop equations is the key to understanding Nature. As we see in this set of pictures, tips of tree branches are self similar in its repeated patterns. Notice the same in the tree as a whole in its companion photograph. Furthermore, we can clearly recognize the similarity between the two very different trees when viewed side by side. Surely by design! Surely Nature has arrived here after millennia of trial and error by reason. Only the fittest survive. A Miracle?
We view the whole, by examining the details
While this concept is seemingly paradoxical, Nature provides a visual touchstone with which the ego can affix itself for unfolding. Life itself is fractal; Thoughts are fractal in structure, theme, and concept. How many times in your life have you seen repeated themes in seemingly disparate situations? Do you glance at the clock only to find it reads a particular time more often than others? We arrive at many day to day solutions to problems by drawing on knowledge of the past, or other problems. Karma also can be conceptualized from afar through the lens of fractal theory. Repeated patterns, thoughts, actions, themes in our life, these are but one phase of karma. Fractal repetition from the unattended thought, to the wide overview of one's life can be understood by examining any part of the whole. I will not dwell here; I will leave you the reader, the part, to unfold our unified mystery. View the mountain and its blanket of trees, the rock and its accompanying shrubs.
A shadow's mystery revealed in our veins
There are a number known ways to enlightenment of the mind. I spent some time with a shaman who espoused the concept of "Every action, every thought, every feeling a prayer." Using our fractal code and what we learned about thoughts previously, we might see how we can unlock these patterns through examination. We will use the working definition of prayer here to be: Examination through meditation, which gives rise the deep feeling of love that can only be felt when we accept we are but a part of the whole. Our true heart is given freedom as we rejoin the whole through this symbiotic relationship.
Fear and shame are the fractal shadow pattern outline of meaning and joy.
The innate human need for unity, community, kindred spirit has given rise to the concept of religion. This need is fulfilled when the ego realizes that by examining itself, accepting itself for the beautiful part of a whole it is. All thoughts are part of a whole, larger picture, linked by its neighbors. Indeed we are not parts, but connected to a whole, whose image is mirrored in our own thought-shape.
How can I understand this better?
New thoughts and concepts are always hard to fully grasp for all of us. The fractal nature of thought dictates that we must see continued repetition for the mind to understand the genetic helix of a concept. Nature has been at this for a while; you will never be able to grasp it all. . I'm sure some of what I talked about seemed obtuse to say the least. If in fact, you are intrigued by some of the concepts I talk about in this article, I encourage you to do a little research on fractal concepts and current theory. There is some really exciting work going on, for example did you know: In a forest the distribution of the sizes of individual trees exactly matches the plot slope of individual branches in a single tree?