Chaos Theory, Fractals and the complexity of existence…

I’ve promised you few notes on “Fractal Ontology”. Well, here they go…

The term bridges philosophical notion of ‘ontology’ -(Greek meaning: ‘theory/science of being’) with the phenomenon of ‘fractals’ taken from the natural sciences and maths. Going deeper – ‘fractals’ originate from the Chaos Theory, and this is where one probably should start all the explanations.

Chaos Theory is a dark horse of contemporary science. Two hundred years ago  it would be unthinkable – Newtonian perfectly organized world-view, with its deliciously logical mechanics, was too strong to allow any serious benefit of a doubt.  A hundred years ago Einstein’s genius abolished the rule of determinism, reductionism and objective knowledge in science – his contribution was so revolutionary and complex that it hasn’t been fully digested yet; practically, one can easy predict, that our 21st century would be a completely different fairy-tale if it wasn’t for that one man and his theories…

The ‘scandal’ of Chaos in science had started to develop in maths (with regular experiments being conducted in 1920s onwards), then had been followed by physics, chemistry and biology  – where scientists observed irregularities, even randomness in the dynamics of systems considered as ‘ordered’ by the traditional views. From various chemical reactions in micro and macro-cosmos to weather and climate – universe has started to display itself as – in fact – infinite chaos, rather than the absolute order, as humankind was keen to believe for ages.

In natural world, there have always existed structures and phenomena, which proved to be impossible to describe by traditional Euclidean geometry or Newtonian dynamics… Mountains ranges, clouds, coastlines, crystals, lightning, blood vessels –  boundless, captivatingly beautiful, unpredictable in its evolution though fairly self-similar, they generate themselves forever expanding accordingly to the rules, which cannot be completely captured or explained, simply because they’re no definite rules… Epitomes of Life per se – the face of Nature in its most primordial, creative and self-sustaining structure… These are FRACTALS – children of the organized chaos of the Universe. Yet “chaos” here doesn’t simply mean ‘anarchy’ but ‘a higher order’ – out of confusion and complexity life emerges as a functioning organism, it may be unpredictable and extremely sensitive to any stimulants – yet – it displays that innate tendency to form into patterns and structures – it fosters and commands order despite of all forces that act against it.

Fragmented, ‘broken’, complex, inexhaustible – this is the ‘fractal’ theory of existence (transplanting scientific concepts on the philosophical field). One of those very few examples where the nature of the human thought and the nature of the physical world interweave so closely and creatively.

Focusing on the creativity- ‘fractal’ world-view belongs to the oldest, most pre-thought, deeply spiritual as the example from the ancient “Book of Kells” (above) shows. There are many symbols and primitive art images created by ancient civilizations, which show their intuitive reading of nature as fragmented, ‘fractured’.

Picasso’s portrait of A. Vollard (above), just like many cubists works from its analytical period picture the fractal vision of reality – looks like art preceded science in its practical applications of the Chaos and Fractal Theory (though calling it with different names)… In many abstract and abstract expressionist works, from P. Klee and J. Pollock to postmodern works (look above -work from the “Fractal Gallery”), often digitally generated one can easily noticed how that chaotic, ‘broken’, non-linear (as opposed to ‘classical’ ordered) representation of reality prevails presenting itself with innovative spirit, confidence and haunting beauty.


Note: Due to the immense complexity of the issues presented and the brief nature of blogging, one cannot consider this article as ‘informative’ in a scientific sense (due to simplifications and the fragmented outlook). Its intent is mainly that of promoting science and its theories. Care will be taken in my further research to develop this, here introduced, art-science affinity concept. Extended information on fractals can be found online – here are some of the links: FractalOntologyWikipedia, Chaos Intro, EnchantedMind and many more…

About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

3 responses to “Chaos Theory, Fractals and the complexity of existence…

  • psychic nomad

    What a fascinating post. I very much agree that Einstein’s contributions haven’t fully been realized. I frequently encounter people with a very Newtonian, reductionist, “ordered” worldview. These people act as if this worldview is borne out by logic, common sense, and science—and that if you don’t share this worldview, you are somehow “unscientific” or a sloppy thinker. Your post points that if anything, the more recent discoveries in science point at another way of seeing reality.

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  • Kelsey Corbett

    wow, I came to th conclusion three or four years ago when I was 17 or 18 that everything a mirror image of itself (though like mirrors the reflections are imperfect)… I came to the conclusion that all of life is just like one giant fractal. Since then, I keep running into more and more things that make me believe how true this theory really is. It’s really insane. And totally awesome. I think if people saw this they would change the way they thought. I think they would take themselves less seriously and enjoy what is being unfolded more. What is cool about the idea of a fractal too is that it supports the idea of no origin. Fractals are infinite, meaning there is no end. If there is no end would it not be safe to say there the could also have been no begining? These are strange concepts to grasp for us, but life is a strange thing, and it doesn’t really make sense. This is the chaos of it. This is the beauty of it. The unpredictability of no order…

    And I agree, people should reflect on Einstein’s life a little more. The FBI did a good job of reducing his life’s value by making him out to be this crazy, absent-minded, goofy scientist. This is because his ideas are capable of opening people’s minds and changing people’s views on life, which is actually what he wanted to do. The FBI had an 1,800 page file on him that they only closed when he died. What dick heads. I hope his theories don’t get lost in American propoganda. It’s sad every day people know more about who Paris Hilton has slept with than the life and theories of Albert Einstein. I used to walk around in an Einstein t-shirt when I was little. It was my favorite t-shirt.

    Anyway, I just thought it was crazy (and lame) that all my theories about fractals have already been thought. Of course, they would have been, wouldn’t they… reflections, reflections, reflections. Goddammit. I wanted to name this theory! haha 🙂

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