Fractals are everywhere… in the foliage of the trees, in the waves of the ocean, in the neurons of the brain, in the atom, to the solar system. Fractals pervade all existence.
The idea that the world and life itself are a tapestry of intricately woven fractals is nothing new. When fractals were discovered, it became quite apparent that they are everywhere. Some fractals are obviously simple recursive units, other more complicated copies of multi themes. However, our mind seems to compartmentalize our knowledge as theories and realities and more often than not fails to apply theory to the reality. Even when the idea is no longer a theory but a fact.
For it is the whole that the mind grasps, not as a sum of it’s parts.
Once we realize that all existence is but a fractal, a conglomeration of multi fractals within fractals, we are no longer intimidated by the complexity.
Fractals not only remind us that the manifest world is really very simple, if one focusses on the unit rather than the whole, but also provide an answer to the big question, how could this complicated world arise out of nowhere. When one looks at the sea, the trees, the rivers, the sky, the stars, the bugs, the birds, and of course the ever-present teeming millions of humans, the mind reels from the complexity and variety of life, of nature, of matter. Many a mind has been boggled with confusion at the sheer complexity of existence. The mind wonders, how could such complexity have evolved? And therefore invents a superpower to create it. Then over the ages, the superpower acquires more accessories in terms of myths and miracles and voila, a religion is born. But is the universe really that complex? All existence is really simple. Simple, elegant and therefore deeply understandable – if only we look for the core of everything.
This stretch of existence that we call ‘Life’ is but a unit of a mega fractal with multiple planes of existence both emotional and physical. On a larger scale, it is composed of life-life interactions, such as the food web, the matings, the emotional interchanges, and the drama they beget. This mega scale is but a fractal of individual life forms which in turn are fractals of cells. The basic unit of the cell are the biochemical processes that generate energy, energy within the cell to respirate, to replicate. And when one bores down these biochemical processes, they are but chemical reactions. All life boils down to this – chemical reactions. And all chemicals are but made of the very same subatomic particles. And so are all galaxies, all cities, all populations, all life, all atoms, all subatomic particles…a part of this multi fractal, each getting closer and closer to the core as it gets smaller and smaller.
It is not just the tangible things that could be part of fractals, but the intangible as well. We scream as anger ebbs in us, the scream the fractal of tiny emotional outbursts in the neurons. After all, neurotransmitter molecules rule the brain. Their interactions along the neuronal walls fractalize to form emotions.
Even our quest for knowledge follows the fractal pattern. Just as we are unaware of what lies before or after life, we ponder over the before and after of the world’s existence. On a smaller scale, we ponder about the subatomic particles and what lies within.
Will we ever fully understand every nuance of this tangled world? As scientists, we chip away at the mysteries, one rock at a time, at various points on the fractal, hoping that all this knowledge, aggregated, would solve the puzzle for us. But this manifest universe is infinite and there are infinite factoids that can be mined within it and therefore this approach will never offer complete knowledge of this universe, which is by definition infinite. It hence follows that it would serve us much better to hone in on the unit of which all this is comprised so that we may extrapolate the rest.
We need to rethink our thinking. We need to shed the complexity. We analyze loads and loads of data, make connections and draw conclusions. We are trained to see the ‘big picture’ and oftentimes forget that the picture is but a sum of its parts. We get entwined in the arms of the fractals, mired in their apparent complexity, while life’s secrets lie in plain sight, in the sublime core.