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Indeterminate Heuristics
Fractal Duality and the Nature of the Universe
by Dale Asberry
December 22, 2005
For those following my blog, you know that my academic experience resulted in a degree in Physics. Even though I professionally engage in programming, I would prefer to play in the world of physics.


[Ed.]Sorry for the misleading summary that went out... didn't realize until after I hit submit that I meant to change the summary.[/Ed.]

Not long after graduating, a friend pointed me to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. It was a very mind-opening read, but, to cut to the chase, it got me to thinking about the nature of the universe. I've been particularly stumped with current physics thinking about particle/wave duality. There is something about it all that just "bugs" me. My brain just can't accept the human tendency to completely break ideas down into component parts. My brain just keeps taking me back to where we need to be able to hold both concepts in our mind AT THE SAME TIME. The reason why physics has been stuck with this for the last 100 years is because these really smart people haven't done it, both, at the same time...

Ok, so particle/wave is one thing... not sure exactly what that means, but it's a starting point. In a simplified essence that my brain can hold, that duality is probably more easily stated as matter/energy. I'm not sure why, but the first thought that jumped into my head was space/time. Is it the same thing as matter/energy... hmmm, yes - and no! What about other levels of organization in the universe... molecule/reaction, social groups/communication, and so on? It seems that at different levels of organization, this same pattern emerges. No matter how I conceptually zoom in on the universe, there it is. A self-similar system - a fractal. Dual natures encompassing a single phenomenon.

This fractal duality concept extends through the universe at many levels of complexity. The static aspect captures stable states, the dynamic aspect disrupts and moves between stable states within the duality's realm of influence and each aspect of the duality can morph from one aspect to the other.

Another feature I recognized is that, amazingly, the higher order complexity fractal duality "behaviors" are intertwingled with and driven by the lower order fractal duality behaviors. Viruses interact in social populations, photons interact with cellular organisms, and so on, all of these intertwinglings creating diverse new kinds of fractals!

Interestingly, the higher order dualities rarely appear to intertwingle in the lower order dualities and when they do, it is only in a limited fashion. Organization at the higher orders need to have 'knowledge' of the lower orders to effect them. The greater the knowledge (sustainable fractal pattern), the more adept the manipulation of the lower order duality.

As for knowledge, it also seems that the lower order sustainable fractal patterns are 'unaware of' the higher order fractal patterns even though they are a necessary component. Is this a "can't see the forest for the trees" effect?


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About the Blogger

R. Dale Asberry been hacking since 1978, professionally since 1990. He's certified in Java 1.1 and has a four digit MCP number. He discovered Jini at the 2000 JavaOne and has been building incredibly cool, dynamic, distributed architectures ever since! Over time, he's discovered several principles that have contributed to his success - they are the Princples of: Enabling Others, Simplicity, No Complaining, Least Work, Least Surprise, Least Damage, and "It Just Works".

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2005 Dale Asberry. All rights reserved.

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