Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Fractals    by     Ruth Utnage

A fractal is "A never ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales." (Adrienne Maree Brown, "Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds", 2017, pg. 51). That's one definition, mathematics provides a much more concise definition that applies to geometric shapes. I am thinking of fractals as an abstract, self-similar patterns across different scales. This is what happens when I read multiple books at once.

In addition to Brown's "Emergent Strategy" I am simultaneously reading Louis Cozolino's "The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the developing social brain" (2006). Oddly, both have my full attention but for dramatically different reasons but I cannot ignore that one is influencing the other. Mainly, the idea of fractals existing in everyday life. For instance, neurons are social. In order to survive they require communication from other neurons to build neural networks. In fact, they are such social organisms that without communication they shrink and die (gratitude to Cozolino for the proceeding neurological info!).

Humans are like this too. We require communication. Interesting that our most complex and mysterious portion of our bodies (our brains) is a sort of mini version of how we are designed on a different scale. We are basically neurons that share information with one another to create complex systems that adapt to change and are interdependent upon others for survival and health. That's interesting. We can even scale bigger that though. Consider the Sun and the planets, our very galaxy. Planets have a relationship to one another and with the Sun, it's a system that is interdependent, like us, like our neurons, alone they wither and die, together they are mighty and complex.

There's a certain beauty in knowing that I am designed with the same genetic mapping as other mysterious and wonderfully complex systems. I don't necessarily need to understand how they all link together, I just need to know that it makes me happy and healthy and that my mind is working.

Anyone else find this fascinating?

With Love
Ruth


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