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All, the Fractal I by Ed Harrison

All, the Fractal I by Ed HarrisonThroughout the ages, and in the present day, among the wide variety of experiences, literature and cultural beliefs on the subject of spirituality, an idea commonly appears which offers a striking perspective on the nature of our reality: The idea of unity, “oneness”. The idea that we are all connected, that everything in existence is one. It is a foundation of eastern systems of spirituality such as Buddhism, as well as western esoteric traditions such as Hermeticism.Western science is one ongoing attempt to explain the nature of reality, and the most prevalent story it has told of how everything came to be, the ‘big picture’ it has painted in millions of modern minds, begins with the Big Bang. Due to the apparent expansion of our universe, the theory infers that all energy (and matter, which is a configuration of energy) emanated from a single point of origin. This source, containing all the energy of the universe in a timeless and formless state, having infinite density yet no volume, is known as the singularity. According to the theory, space-time itself emanates from this singularity. It exists beyond space and time and is the precondition for the first activity in the universe – the explosive release of energy referred to as the Big Bang. This has some startling implications. What does it mean to be beyond time and space? If the singularity is beyond the limitations of time then we can’t think of it as an event which occurred before or after anything, with a beginning or an end. We are challenged to think of it as eternal, ever-present in the now. Similarly, if the singularity is beyond the limitations of space then we can’t think of it as existing in one location and not another, but are challenged to consider it omnipresent, everywhere at once. Infinite, eternal, omnipresent, the source of everything… These are all characteristics typical of religious descriptions of God. The singularity also exhibits the concept of unity mentioned earlier, as it is the condition in which which everything that exists is together, unified in a formless and timeless state.The gap between a typical scientific conception of the singularity and a spiritual conception of unity hinges on one subject: Consciousness. It has been the inclination of western science to suppose that consciousness is nothing more than an emergent property of brain activity, a by-product of our physiology. On the other hand, a spiritually oriented perspective suggests that consciousness, mind, is primary and fundamental. From this perspective the singularity (the unified all) is itself consciousness, and all it’s emanations, including our universe and everything in it, are essentially expressions of imagination, like thoughts or dreams. From this perspective, there is only one consciousness – the same observer is looking out your eyes as mine – and the experience of limited individual identities is simply a product of what can and cannot be observed and remembered from each unique vantage point in space-time.

Fractal Love

Putting the issue of consciousness aside for a moment, there is a concept in mathematics which can help us understand the way reality unfolds from the singularity. When considering how complexity can arise and grow out of a formless state like the singularity, we may wonder just where that complexity is coming from. A fractal is a shape generated by repeated iterations of a single mathematical formula, which contains infinite complexity. This means that, for instance, you can zoom in forever on any point on the shape and continue to discover more complex detail. Since computers make fractals relatively easy to calculate, you can find many wonderful examples of this on youtube. Because all the complexity is based on a single process, fractals exhibit the quality of ‘self-similarity’, in which the features of the shape repeat on different scales. A simple example of fractality and self-similarity in nature is a tree. The trunk divides into branches. Each branch, resembling the whole tree, divides into smaller branches. Each small branch, resembling the larger branches, and the tree, divides into twigs, which divide into leaves, and even the leaves themselves have a vein structure which resembles the tree structure. So we can see that great complexity can arise from the repetition of a single branching process. The process of the unified singularity dividing into duality, and into further complexity, is just like the process of cell mitosis which leads to the growth of complex organisms. In fact, the idea is that cell mitosis, like every other process by which complexity arises in the universe, is a fractal continuation of a single primordial process.

Manfred Clynes, in his study of ‘sentics’, and other researchers who have taken cues from his work, have indicated a correlation between the emotion of love and the “golden ratio” (a ratio of 1 to Phi, approximately 1.6180339887498948482…). The ratio exhibits (and is the foundation of) perfect fractality, a fact which can be demonstrated when we divide a line at the golden ratio and observe that the ratio between the length of the short and long sections is the same as the ratio between the length of the long section and the whole line. It is interesting to note that plants distribute their branching (for instance the orientation of leaves on a stem) according to the Fibonacci sequence, whose number pairs approach the golden ratio ever more precisely as the numbers get higher. Plants appear to do this because such an arrangement optimizes the sharing of sunlight (minimum overlap\shadow), which hint at Phi’s special and optimum properties. Phi and the Fibonacci sequence appear to be fundamental to the structure of all life.

This “perfect sharing” property of Phi can also be shown when studying wave interference, and it appears that waves with a frequency relationship of Phi produce the minimum possible cancellation (destructive interference) during the interaction of the two waveforms. Researcher Dan Winter proposes that waves in a Phi relationship actually produce constructive interference, meaning their interaction has creative rather than destructive results. It produces a ‘multiplication’ of the waves, which is another interesting analogy to our conception of love. He shows that the ‘perfect sharing’ aspect of the Phi ratio allows structures based on it to perfectly fit\embed within themselves fractally, allowing waves to implosively collapse infinitely, into the singularity. This provides an explanation for the cause and mechanism of gravity, and is the solution to Einstein’s “perfect compression” problem.

He proposes that it is also the cause of consciousness, since the collapse of waves toward the singularity is the nature of the “point” of focus\attention. The singularity is the observer which is receiving the incoming information\waves collapsing into it. He and a number of other researchers have also shown, through EEG and EKG biofeedback, that states of love and bliss produce harmonics at a ratio of Phi in spectrum analyses of those signals, and that Phi relationships between the signals from the heart and brain represent states of optimum emotional coherence. It appears that achieving an emotional and mental state in which we optimize our ‘fractality’ makes us most conscious and most open to connect with our source and our unity with all things.

Just as leaves on a stem arranged in golden ratio angles create the least overlap\shadowing which would block sunlight, we can strive for a kind of fractal optimization of our own state of being, producing the least emotional resistance (fear) and the most openness to connect. This state, in which we fully embrace without resistance, is love. This idea offers a foundational explanation of the spiritual path – the reason why love, acceptance and compassion allow us greater spiritual connectivity and the experience and recognition of unity. It is the reason practices like meditation and yoga, in which we learn to release our mental and physical resistance and tension, are powerful spiritual tools.

A ‘fractal universe’ perspective offers an interesting take on astrology as well. As everything in the universe is fundamentally one, everything we observe in reality is a reflection of ourselves. Being a fractal, the structure repeats on different scales, from the atom, to the cell, to the human body, to the planet, to the solar system, galaxy, and so on, and each is a fractal reflection of the whole and of each other. Rather than thinking of the planets as distant and separate objects which project some kind of influence on us through radiating waves of energy, we are encouraged to think of the solar system as a fractal or symbolic mirror of our own mind and body. By observing the changing relationships and processes occurring among the planets, we can learn something about the processes operating within our mind and body. This concept is expressed in the well-known Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below; as below, so above.”


The Primordial Pulse
What, then, is the fundamental structure, process or characteristic that is being fractally reflected throughout creation? What is the symbolic key to all structure in the universe? The Hindu philosophy ‘Kashmir Shaivism’, also known as Hindu Tantra, speaks of a concept called Spanda. Spanda is described as the original vibration or oscillation which arises from the interplay between the creative and passive polarities of the singularity. If the singularity is consciousness, consider that this consciousness has the ability to perceive as well as exert creative intention or will. Input and output. A repeated oscillation between these two states is like a vibration or sine wave. An eternal tone from which everything emanates, and which everything reflects. Reflections of this oscillation, on different scales, are overlayed to produce all the complexity which exists. An interesting piece of mathematical evidence for this is the Fourier transform, which proves that all complex signals can be produced by overlaying unchanging sine waves of different frequencies and amplitudes. Thus, overlapping reflections of a single oscillation are all that is required to produce any complex form which can exist.In this oscillation, the receptive state in which consciousness perceives is a state of passivity. As it becomes active and exerts creative intention, it is no longer receptive. Like love, the passive and perceptive state is one which embraces without resistance, while the exertion of will is the polar opposite. It is a response to resistance, a kind of rejection of the current state and an action to create change. This input\output duality is reflected in all dualities in creation, including the negative and positive poles of magnetism, femininity and masculinity, darkness and light, imagination and intellect, cooperation and competitivity, implosion and explosion, love and fear, and good and evil. The Big Bang is only half the story, representing the expansive part of the cycle. What we see from the structure of magnetic fields, for instance, is that energy is being both emitted and sucked back into the singularity, in a kind of toroid shape which is perpetually turning inside out.The oscillation plays out on every different scale, so we can expect to see it represented in our lives and in the story of human history as well. While we are in the masculine part of the cycle, experiencing fear and resistance and exerting our will to effect change, great transformation and creation will occur, but eventually, due to our blindness in this state, our lack of perception of our fundamental unity, this transformation will bring about crisis, at which time we turn the corner, cross the horizon threshold, and start turning our trajectory back towards source. We will begin to let go of our resistance and fear, and embrace with love, allowing us to rediscover our spiritual selves and true unity as projections of the one singularity. Perhaps this is the threshold we are passing through right now as a species, and if that is the case, we have glorious times ahead.So, from the fractal perspective we can begin to recognize the fundamental patterns occurring in the world around us and make more sense of what once seemed to be random complexity. We can achieve a much greater understanding of where we are as individuals, and as a species. The most powerful tool we have to understand the world may turn out to be symbolic awareness, which allows us to recognize self-similar patterns in the fractal. Coming to recognize one’s own consciousness to be the single, eternal consciousness which is creating and experiencing all things, is possibly the most powerfully transformative shift in perspective a person can experience. With an eye on our source and our unity with all things, we can let go of our fear of mortality and all the associated self-imposed limitations, and begin once again to truly enjoy the dance of life.
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