Tag Archives: fractals

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.

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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…

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“Fractal Ontology” – Blog on WordPress

Here is the new fantastic blog I’ve just discovered – FRACTAL ONTOLOGY. ‘Powered’ by a formidable erudition and the searching spirit by two young guys: Joseph Weissman and Taylor Adkins.

These two gentlemen – graduates of philosophy, have an ambition to.. and here, if I may dare to give the voice to them:

So, basically, our idea is this: it is possible to plot a complex path, tracing connections through both clinical and critical theory, towards a new kind of science — a de-centered, non-hierarchical science, capable of grasping and bridging the ruptures between cybernetics, language and society.

What we’ve been doing: mapping out connections between psychoanalysis and philosophy to other fields and disciplines, including theoretical biology, cultural studies and artificial intelligence. We also provide notes, outlines, translations and textual analyses of important contemporary theoretical questions, works and writers.

Above that, they use images – photographs, fine art paintings or digital art – in a way, that actually made me think about impossible – that pure art is made purely to… serve other reasons than its own sake – that it exists to illustrate and enhance ideas that science and philosophy convey in words, graphics and numbers; and vice versa – pure art can and should be made to inspire scientific breakthrough-s.

What a boring, small-minded talk after all – to preach self-importance and superiority of lets say – painting or sculpture – in a clear isolation from what may be regarded as its actual ‘womb’ – I mean all the dynamics of a particular TIME, a moment in the TIME – with all the theories (all major and affluent from the fields of philosophy, science, psychology etc), as well as the cultural and political movements influencing an artist with his/her consent or without it…

And what is that ‘fractal ontology’ after all, and how it may be interesting for visual artists? Well, those of you who may miss the points made by Weissman and Adkins or may find them too cryptic, I will try to explain in my next posts (without any promise though)…


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