Painful Thoughts of a Monday: Fractals and the Limitless Wonder of it All

It is Monday and I find myself, once again, enduring thoughts more befitting for a 2 AM Saturday late-night conversation…

I have always intuitively felt that fractals are more than just mathematical curiosities, more than geometric shapes that continue to resemble themselves as they are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces, and vice versa. No, I believe there is more to it than that.

There is too much redundancy on different scales of size in the physical world to imagine that this concept of the same patterns existing on infinite levels of existence doesn’t in fact continue on into infinity.

If it didn’t, what a waste of energy.

And there are very, very few examples in nature of wasted energy. In fact, there is a law of physics around that very principle of energy conservation.

To think that the complexity we find ourselves living within exists only within the level of existence we exist in and that all other levels of existence either have different or no existing patterns is almost foolish (is that poetry or what?)

Think about the relationship between an atom’s nucleus and the electrons that orbit it as being the same relationship between a sun and its orbiting planets. The only difference is scale.

As I read a book on the brain and mind my thoughts are again revitalized. Isn’t the relationship between the billions of neurons in a brain, the xillion (I made that number up) potential connections between them and the brain as a whole the same as the billions of people on the earth, the countless potential connections between them and the earth (or human species on earth)?

We cannot exist in isolation.

In a brain, isn’t it ideal to maximize neural network connections to create the “best”, smartest, most intelligent brain possible? Isn’t it also ideal to create the most connections as possible in humans to generate the most rich, intelligent civilization possible? [I’m throwing you another bone, Twitter. Again, you’re welcome – oh, you too Facebook. Sorry, almost forgot about you.]

Click to animate...

What are the other parallels of scale?

There are xillions of atomic particles making up xillions of atoms making up xillions of neurons making up xillions of brains making up billions of humans making up earth, which is one of xillions of collective earths, making up xillions of xyz, making up xillions of…you get the point.

And there are xillions and xillions of sub-level pieces that go into atomic particles. Just like waves of light, we are only equipped to be aware of a very small subset. Mathematical models like string theory allow us to conceptually imagine additional levels and dimensions beyond our intellectual and physical grasp. But why should we – for even a second – doubt infinite levels of existence of these patterns? Speaking of time, why shouldn’t there also exist infinite scales of time too, possibly with a direct relationship between each other, i.e. the smaller the scale, the faster the perceived passage of time by some-“thing” occupying that level of existence.

What if we were to investigate the possibility that the earth is but an electron flying around a nucleus (the Sun). The solar system is but an atom dancing within a molecular galaxy that is all part of a piece of matter (the universe) that is simply and quite possibly part of a some ginormous piece of mega poop sitting in a field along with thousands of other pieces of poop made by billions of other beings on a planet that is really just an electron circulating another sun within a solar system in a galaxy of a universe that is really just a minute piece of matter making up the neuron of one of billions of brains on another planet.

Once again, I have hurt myself by thinking too much on a Monday. Time to get back to my mindless day job to recover. Sorry Tuesday, I will most surely do you no good.


Seeing as the world didn’t end 2 days ago, this poem from my recent book, “I Write on Anything (Written on a Napkin)” seems appropriate. It’s also the source of the title of this post.

April 23, 1994
I wouldn’t really care if it ended today
not to be ungrateful or obscene
But to see ignorant people get what they deserve
causes some sick kind of gleam

The limitless wonder of it all

(random pages)

Lost in infiniti trying not to get squashed
Won’t be manhandled, rejected or lost
Saw the penance coming between Heaven and hell
I receded to my concealment not feeling well
Excuse me

About Yorick von Fortinbras

YvF is a writer, musician that stays sane by being creative while navigating the demands of life, looking for those holes where a spark can get through.
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2 Responses to Painful Thoughts of a Monday: Fractals and the Limitless Wonder of it All

  1. FU: I remember a little display in the Liberty Science Center where a video started you at a view of the universe and you quickly dove down into the solar system, to earth, to the human scale, then to the sub molecular and nano-scale level all in about a minute. It was fascinating. Too bad there was no commentary on the levels above the universe and below the nano-scale…I wonder if it’s still there…

  2. Great post! From a very young age I’ve always compared the structure of an atom to that of our solar system. It only makes sense. I always kinda figured we were living on an electron, that was part of an atom, that made up a rock out in the middle of nowhere.

    Really makes you ponder the importance of paying your gas bill every month, don’t it?

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