Could the universe and consciousness be fractals?
In my wildest thoughts and being influenced by my vision of a chaotic and fractal world, I sometime wonder if consciousness and the universe are not fractals. I believe this is also influenced by all the time I spent is Asia combined with my western background 🙂
For most Westerners life has a beginning and an end, perhaps followed by an after-life in accordance with their beliefs: heaven or hell. On the other hand, for most Easterners, every day is a new beginning. Reincarnation is one of its offshoots.
A fractal consciousness
Let’s look at the different states of consciousness that we are most familiar with:
These different states of consciousness follow one another, both in a cyclic manner (Eastern vision of things) and a linear one (Western vision) in the course of a lifetime. They follow each other, in fact, in a fractal manner:
The state of wakefulness is itself a succession of moments when one is totally conscious and moments when one is less so. For instance, we hardly remember anything of the last ten kilometers we have driven.
The state of sleep is itself a succession of more or less conscious phases: light sleep, deep sleep, short awakenings, etc. Some remember their dreams, and even manage to control them. Others do not remember their nights at all. They don’t even remember the moments when they woke up!
Can we be conscious while dreaming? Do we dream that we are conscious? Are we conscious that we are dreaming that we are conscious that perhaps we are dreaming, etc. This has been open for discussion for philosophers and science fiction authors for centuries…
In fact, what we are conscious of and what we qualify as reality on one side, and dreams on the other, as what we are not even conscious of, could be joined together in a fractal way.
Death itself could then be considered as another state of consciousness! No doubt our physical body disappears but our soul abides. It continues to be conscious of itself (or not), until its next physical experience (the eventual reincarnation that Easterners believe in). Most of us obviously are not conscious of our death. It is a black hole. But things could be otherwise. In the same way that we are more or less conscious during our wakeful or our sleeping state, aren’t we simply unconscious during our death? Is there not something during death, is there not something we are not conscious of? Death in that case would be nothing but a fold of the fractal consciousness. Just like sleep or wakefulness.
Being immortal means perhaps remaining conscious all the time including the state of (un)consciousness called death. Becoming immortal means then being conscious in wakefulness, in sleep and in death. Learning to live one’s death, is like learning to watch oneself fall asleep. And isn’t our learning to be conscious in our sleep already a learning to be conscious beyond death?
Numerous paths have been tried and experimented with through different forms of spirituality over the centuries and are practiced by more and more people. So we can perhaps learn to be conscious in a fractal way!
Are you still with me? Then let us see a little further: is the universe also fractal? If so, then why?
A fractal universe
The universe as we perceive it is probably a projection. What is a projection? For instance, a geographical map is a two-dimensional projection of the real three-dimensional world. The film that you see on your screen is also another type of projection: in 2D or 3D… depending on the movie and your equipment.
The world that we see is of a few dimensions only, in principle four: the three dimensions of space and time as the fourth. But this world as we perceive it could very well be, in fact, nothing but a projection of a universe that has a number of other dimensions, even perhaps an infinite number! Well, the projection of something of a larger dimension on to something of a smaller dimension creates what we may call ‘folds’, such as when we try to slip a very big dress into a box that is too small for it. Try it and you’ll see!
You will notice that the folds naturally take a fractal form and perhaps this is how we can understand the fractal nature of our universe. In the same way, our life is perhaps a fold, a fold of consciousness. Indeed, the projection of a consciousness of an infinite dimension into a human dimension that is much smaller, turns our life into a fold of consciousness.
What I call learning to identify a fractal image is, in fact, being able to see a pattern in the folds, to see order in a world of chaos. In fact, on a very small section of a dress, one does not see the totality of the folds and all seems then to be flat or linear. At the worst, it rises at places or it goes down at others. We cannot see the whole landscape. But as soon as we go further away or rise in altitude, we increase the range of our vision; then the folds and the fractal nature emerge.
Our consciousness, our life may well be fractal. And it is by learning to widen our field of consciousness that we might be able to perceive the complete pattern and begin to figure out its sense 🙂