A Fractal Theory of Everything

For those of my readers who don’t know what a fractal is, this short video explains it in a very compact and non-technical way, and I highly recommend you see that video before you read the rest of this post. I was talking with my father about fractals, and he alerted me to the explanatory powers of fractals. His idea was that no matter how small we go in quantum particles, there always seems to be a smaller kind of particle that makes up the next layer down. So my father theorized that atoms are fractals and that the number of particles one could find is actually endless. Then he combined that theory with the macro level in astrophysics. No matter how far out we go in space, there will always be more to explore. In other words, the universe has fractals in its DNA code on both the micro and the macro level. Mind you, this is only a theory!

I immediately started thinking of the way I had been studying history recently. I used to read generalist history books that were supposed to give me a grand feel for the scope of everything. I found them unutterably dull and boring, because they never adequately explained cause and effect for specific events. So I decided to switch my tactics and read enormous tomes about small events, to see if I could actually learn something about smaller fields of historical knowledge. I found the books infinitely more satisfying to read. I felt that I was really learning something.

All that about history is background to this paragraph. What I have discovered is that history is enormously more complicated than anyone likes to think. Even to describe the major causes why something happens involves enormous research. All historical writing inevitably over-simplifies the cause and effect relationships. Suppose that over-simplification is also infinite? Suppose the causation for any given act of history is actually a fractal? Certainly, cause and effect would go backwards in time to the very beginning. However, wouldn’t it also branch out going backwards? Can we say that a given event only had one cause without that cause being caused by a whole complex of further causes? Wouldn’t causation itself branch out in a fractal manner?

It doesn’t take much of a science fiction boost to this idea to see how it works in forward historical progress. As most people know, a very small change in present circumstances can drastically change the future. The possible futures branch out in a seemingly fractal way as well.

Then I thought about knowledge itself. Knowledge has been fragmenting ever since the Enlightenment. Kant wanted to separate the world of faith from the world of knowledge. In Kant’s world, there is a ceiling that prevents the noumenal world from being known (Kant rejected the idea of revelation, the noumenal world revealing itself to the phenomenal world). But if theology is not the queen of the sciences, as it was in the Middle Ages, then knowledge becomes very fragmented. Suppose, however, that knowledge itself is a sort of fractal? Obviously, it couldn’t be a fractal in the physical sense. However, if knowledge has a fractal-like aspect to it, then we can expect the specialization of disciplines to go on ad infinitum. Certainly, this would be true in the STEM fields if reality itself is fractal. If reality is fractal, then our knowledge of it would be so also. If we reject Kant’s construction, however, then the noumenal world is open to knowledge as well. God can reveal Himself to us, and we can know Him.

On this understanding of the physical world, the historical world, and the world of knowledge, there would be a super-fractal that connects these three worlds together. I believe that super-fractal is the Bible. It binds all knowledge, all history, and the physical universe together. If I am right about the Bible, then there will always be more in the Bible to discover, since it itself is a fractal. It will always have the same general shape of revelatory word following and explaining creationary or redemptive deed on God’s part. However, our understanding of that revelation will always be refining itself, not into something complete different, but in a deeper understanding of the same truths once for all revealed to the saints.

8 Comments

  1. March 3, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Nice one! Is “fractalic” a word?

  2. greenbaggins said,

    March 3, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Not that I’m aware of. I couldn’t think of any other way to put it. So, it’s a neologism.

  3. Jeremiah said,

    March 3, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Leibniz argues for something very similar when he rejects the existence of atoms as absolutely hard, homogeneous, indivisible, and indestructible by natural means. He argued the following: 1) things are by nature divisible, and if we say that a portion of it is not further divisible, we must supply a reason why it is indivisible. Lacking that reason, it must be divisible. 2) atoms of that type (homogeneous and indivisible) would be indistinguishable from one another, and thus we would not be able to distinguish the things made up from them. But we can distinguish things, so absolutely hard, homogeneous, indivisible and indestructible atoms must not exist. What he imagined instead, while not identical with your theory of fractals, is similar in that he envisioned infinite patterns within patterns to compose all material things.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    March 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Welcome, Jeremiah, and thanks for adding Leibniz’s ideas to the mix. Very interesting.

  5. reiterations said,

    March 3, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    That video was as clear as mud. There is *supposed* to be NO MATH in this blog! LOL

  6. Alexander Stoddard said,

    March 4, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Fractal is both a noun and an adjective. The usual way of saying fractalic is ‘fractal’.

  7. greenbaggins said,

    March 4, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Alex, good to hear from you! And thanks for the corrective, I have corrected the word everywhere it appears.

  8. Jared Leonard said,

    March 4, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    Welcome to the future of theology, Lane.

    http://www.biblematrix.com.au/the-bible-is-a-fractal/


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