Sunday, December 11, 2005

Thumbprint of God

So we went to the beach yesterday and talked more about philosophy... and then this morning on OPB I watched an interesting little program on fractal geometry and it all came together. Yay, I finally have an answer when asked what my religion is. I so hate being lumped in along with that namby-pamby "new age" bullshit. It's all about the whole, right? So what's wrong with "Wholism" and being "Wholistic?" (Not "holistic," like medicine or whatever; I dont know why they decided to drop the W)

Here's "our" symbol:

That's the Mandelbrot set, which is (get this) a geometric construction of infinite complexity. How it works: based on a feedback equation, this thing can be "zoomed into" and "out from" an infinite number of times, each zoom revealing yet another level of detail. Which goes right along with something I was contemplating at the beach yesterday.

Aaahhhh, complexity. My favorite part of the show was when Arthur C. Clarke asks Stephen Hawking whether the "actual" universe is infinitely reducible, or does it have a limit of smallness? (Implying, I guess, that the M. Set could actually be MORE complex than the Universe itself?) Hawking talked about the Planck Length, which is the theoretical lower limit of size for things in our universe. It's very small, like a millionth of a milliionth of a millionth of a millionth of a centimeter or something like that.

And then they moved on to the next bit in the program. Meanwhile I'm thinking, hey guys... Um, this M.Set exists as a part of the Universe itself, yes? So does it not therefore represent better than anything else can (even a sideways figure-8 or a Mobius strip) the true complexity of the Whole? Is it not contained by the whole? Duh. Jeeze.

So I was obviously meant to see that little program on public TV, and I was obviously meant to see it after the beach yesterday and my recent philosophical noodling. Now I can move on. I am a Wholist, and the M.Set is the perfect symbol of my faith. Everyone's gotta' have one, right? How nice to be able to symbolize such (heh) complicated ideas in such a (heh-heh) small space?

Wholists rock. I wonder how many of us there are? ;-)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

1 comment:

Loreen said...

When you get into our current ability to precive and measure the smallest elements of us, there's a certain point where physicists say, "this is the smallest thing we can precive. It's vibrating."

"What is vibrating?"

"Um. So far as we can tell, nothing -- sure is vibrating though."

So, deep down, we're not made of anything. But we're energetic about it...