16 February 2012

You are a fractal (draft)

The metaphor of fractals has endless applications.  Most view fractal analysis is related to the characteristics of object. However, viewing human beings as fractal gives a much expanded view of fractals. It implications are boundless.

For those who may be reading my webpage for the first time, I will explain my version of fractals.  A fractal starts our as nothing and may end as nothing too.  But, before a fractal emerges, there exists an environment.  The environment represents the boundaries that the fractal can function at its inception.  The beginning of a fractal is the placement of an element into the environment. At this point, it is not a fractal; it is just a static element.  This element has its own characteristics, some inherent and others fabricated by its creator, referred to as rules. Therefore, before a fractal can be generated there has to be two prerequisites: an environment and a set of rules.  In mathematical fractal generation, the environment is the set limits on fractal generation and the rules are formulae. The fractal comes into existence once the formula is activated.  It is assumed in fractal generation that the fractal is also graphically visible The fractal once generated is merely the repetition of this formula.  The more it is replicated, the more complex and intricate it becomes.  But, the fractal may ‘mutate’ as the many formula and results interact.  The fractal can also change if even minor changes are introduced to the fractal by the generator or the environment changes during the course of activity.

An example of a fractal can be the growth of a tree. A tree is dependent on its environment and has certain rules that are not negotiable. The environment here is the physical environment.  A seed has all the information necessary to start a tree. This is the same as an element in fractal generation.   The environment is a clear determinate if the seed will become a tree. If the soil is dry, it will not become a tree till later or never become a tree. If the seed and the environment are completely incompatible, the seed will also not come into existence. For example, if you plant a palm tree seed in the Artic, the  seed will never germinate because the temperature is too cold, regardless of the soil type.  If you create an environment, exclusive of the natural environment, it will grow in the Artic. For example, you plant the seed in the right soil in a greenhouse that is warm and has the right amount of light, the palm tree has a good chance of growing from a seed, if there are no defects in the seed.   At this point to contine the analogy, we are assuming that the environment is ambient for a tree to grow from a compatible seed. At the point of germination, the seed starts to generate a fractal. The first fractal woul be a twig. The twig devides once to form two twigs (e.g. bifurcation.) Then, each of these twigs are divided again. This is repeated until the tree becomes to the level of full maturity.  No two trees are exactly the same because of minor interactions as the tree grows (e.g. feedback) or the changes in the environment.  After some point, programmed by the instructions in the seed, the tree produces seeds so that other trees can grow of its same species. Eventually, the tree dies either because of the environment (i.e., fire, drought etc.) or because it cannot maintain itself with its support system.

The analogy for a human being is basically the same.  We start our as an egg which is the element with all the ‘stuff’ for generating a human being.  It may not go beyond this, if not fertilized.  Life does not begin before the sperm is first able to join to the egg, mix the genetic material together to begin the process. The genetic material of the egg (e.g. elements) may reject those of the sperm  If so the process stops here.  If the genetic material of the egg accepts the generic material of the egg, then the process of the formation of a human being begins.  The fertilized egg divides into two cells, the these cells divided repeat, based on instructions that change the rules many time to create a baby.  Afterwards, the cells divide again and again to produce a mature adult.  The mature adult mates with  another mature adult to fertilize an egg and the process starts anew. The mature adult gets older and eventually dies because of accident, disease, or the inability of the body to maintain life.

Why am I mentioning this within the context of this blog.   One, urban areas are composed of human beings and without them, cities do not exist. Two, the fractal generation process in humans determines the basic elements of other fractals in the urban physical and the cultural landscape.  The thoughts, speech, actions, creation of physical objects (i.e., buildings, furniture, books etc.), lifestyles, government, and everything relegated to humans are fractal and linked/networked in a complex manner.  They are inherently self-organizing, adaptive, and chaotic.  

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