I've been visiting "electric sheep" recently and trying to comprehend what fractals are and how they are created. My questions led me over to the ever-readily-at-hand wikipedia where I'm able to read a definition, grasp at the concept, but still be a little fuzzy on what the math people might be talking about. I think I understand the basics of "what" but "how" is still evading me at the moment. In the simple explanation, it's a shape created by the replication of the same shape--it occurs in nature sometimes in plants like ferns. And it's rather how I was taught to draw a tree, a "Y" with branches splitting to branch again, and again. I find the fractals delightful to watch, even though I'm unable to distinguish the shape that is replicated in most cases.
From there, I began reading about "strange loops" Escher is known for these: hands drawing each other, staircases to nowhere, and such. But more interestingly, I found that there is a book by Douglas Hofstadter called I am a Strange Loop, which appears to be about soul, consciousness and its self-constructiveness. I read an interview which gives me a sense of the book's argument. But, I need to request this, and his earlier Gödel, Escher, Bach, from my library. I'm particularly interested in Hofstadter's theory about the "soul" (should we say "human essence"?) having more than just a single repository and how this relates to other ideas/theories I'm familiar with from literary and language theory, and more essential how it relates to my relationship with and understanding of God.
Oddly enough, Hofstadter also postulates about random experience suddenly revealing an order (do we impose this order? or was it there, waiting to be revealed all along?)
A turn of a kaleidoscope and all the randomness settles into a beauty of its own.
(more to come)