November 4, 2012

It’s a Fractal Universe…so what?

Source: laughingsquid.com via Joe on Pinterest

“The Matrix is a system. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”

~ Morpheus in The Matrix

When you’re a super rich person or organization, you have no allegiance to any country or people, other than to other super rich people; you also get to play by a different set of rules, like Facebook, Amazon and Google do, by paying little or no taxes, in the countries they operate in.

You create systems which protect your status, while making it very difficult for the majority to live freely and sustainably. Like Monsanto do by patenting seeds and then laying claim to farmer’s crops, when they have contaminated them. But it’s not the fault of the super rich—they are a product of the environment, just like we all are.

Although it feels like a conspiracy, it’s not; it is just the way our system operates. These are the very systems you support, often unwittingly. It’s damaging—and very concerning—that the majority of the world’s population are mere pawns to a powerful, corprocractic system.

Don’t bother questioning authority; they haven’t a clue what to do either.

We know that respectable people will indulge in behaviours that are ethically corrupt, when they operate in social systems that promote those behaviours; that’s how bankers brought the world economy to its knees—and that’s how it enables politicians to keep dragging us into senseless wars. All are protected by social norms (unless of course they happen to live in Iceland).

So, what to do about it?

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Benoit Mandelbrot came up with the idea that in geometry there was a different set of rules—another level of complexity which we now know as fractal geometry. Fractal geometry is a design which has self similar properties; like nesting dolls, going from the smallest to the largest, each mirrored in the next level up.

Once Mandelbrot switched on our awareness to fractals, they were suddenly everywhere in the natural world and they have always been here, hidden in plain sight.

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth,’ and so it goes away. Puzzling.”

~ Robert M. Pirsig

What isn’t so well known is that the systems and processes of the universe are fractal in nature, too. A lot of technology we’ve invented is really a reflection of an internal process; if I tell you a story, you’ll probably create an internal movie—now, we have televisions that do the work for us. When we send a text message, the phone uses predictive texting—human intelligence is the ability to predict as in ‘two, four, six, what comes next?’

The language in computers works in the same way as the code that switches our genes on or off; it’s binary. The human brain and the internet are both complex adaptive systems.

If you compare photos of the universe and the neurons in our body, they look similar. Carl Sagan hinted that our planet may actually be just a small particle, within a much bigger particle, and so on. In fact, we may even be a conduit for the universe itself.

Why is it important?

Well before Mandelbrot discovered fractals, we worked within the limits of Euclidean geometry. We’ll call this ‘old geometry’—think triangles and squares and the rules that govern them; fractal geometry is a whole higher level of complexity. Nature works at the fractal level of complexity, if left alone and it’s very efficient. Although fractals were always out there—and within us—we didn’t see them until we knew what to look for.

When I first entered the jungles of Borneo, it seemed a scary place. As I learned from working alongside native Ibans, the jungle eventually became a veritable cornucopia of food and beauty. A finger pointing in just the right place changed the landscape for me; where previously I had seen danger, I now saw potential.

We need to ask the right questions so that the answers point towards what is probably right in front of our eyes.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

~ Albert Einstein

We’ve got serious challenges today, because our political, social and economic models are ‘old geometry’ thinking. Institutions like capitalism and politics, based on hierarchical competition, have had their day. No one side has all the answers, so while world leaders will try their best, they will ultimately fail. Their parties will only ever, at best, have one half of the solution—and usually a lot less.

“You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.”

~ Miyamoto Musashi

There is no ‘them and us’—and no fixed truth or one solution. No one person, level or sector of society, has a handle on the situation—that’s an illusion. But, we continue to support that illusion because we’re scared of letting go.

So scared are some people, that they will attack new ideas, systems and even people, so they can remain in the same place; comfortably uncomfortable, in their comfort zones.

The education, economic, political, social, food production and energy sectors, are all struggling to keep up with the fundamental transformation that is required to cope with the era of limits. Top down hierarchical and centralised systems—’old geometry’—need to be replaced with fractal, localised thinking. People don’t need leading; they need unleashing. Systems which support the individual will also support communities, society and the world at large.

There is a universal product cycle which progresses through three levels of complexity within each cycle.

Firstly, C1 level, everything has to compete for a place in the universe. Once established, in humans an ego driven 2C, control/conform level occurs, where if you’re lucky to be top dog, you get everyone else to conform to your worldview. If you’re not in control, you have to conform to the upper echelons.

In nature however, there are S.T.O.P’s: ‘Strategies to Overcome Power.’ This keeps the power in nature balanced, so presumably Mother Nature decided a long time ago that too much, one-sided control over the system is a bad thing. We’re part of the natural world and would be well-advised to consider this.

“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another and all involved in one another.”

~ Thomas Merton

When people and society evolve to the next level, they’ll collaborate and contribute to the whole ecology in a highly connected way. It’ll be grass roots, built on symbiotic relationships, hard to control and it will look messy—but, it will be more efficient at fundamentally solving the challenges we all face.

At the 3C enlightened thinking level, there is the ability to grasp reality without projection. It’s an evolving process in which we begin to see the increasing level of order within the chaos. As we appreciate and learn to handle the messiness of complexity, the solutions we need for the transformation of mankind, will begin to appear as if from nowhere…


Editor: Bryonie Wise

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