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The Fractal Nature of Consciousness

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posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 08:46 PM
Fractals are everywhere in nature and relatively new in concept as of the late 19th century discovered by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975. What fractals such as the Mandelbrot set visually showed us, was a mathematical pattern that defines an infinite zoom into and out of the mathematical imagery. The visual data created by a Mandelbrot naturally occurs in our conscious perception. Meditation, falling asleep, dreaming, psychedelic drugs or even closing your eyes and applying stress to the optic nerve can produce a mosaic fractal within our visual perception. What is a fractal?

A fractal is a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole," a property called self-similarity. A mathematical fractal is based on an equation that undergoes iteration, a form of feedback based on recursion.

We understand that fractals exist mathematically, and we can see that nature uses fractal imagery in how clouds, ferns, flowers all form. If we zoom in and out of nature, we find a very clear fractal view of Reality. A really great video that demonstrates this zoom is called: The Power of Ten: From Outer Galaxy to Inner Atom by Charles and Ray Eames for IBM.

Youtube Link:

I recommend watching this video to fully digest the relationship to fractals and reality. We have no evidence that the power of ten zoom inward and outward ends with no further data to expand or reduce into. If we take Quantum Mechanics, we can’t assume that this zoom must end when it reaches the Planks Constant which is a measurement of 1.616252(81)×10^35 meters. What we do know is this model of viewing reality as a fractal suggests that reduction of the zoom adheres to self-similarity and may continue past our current model of Quanta as information bits in matter. It is suggested but not in any way proven.

The same can be said of the length of the Universe that once we zoom outward to 10^26 meters we would reach the end of data for a finite zoom if the Universe itself is finite in length. Because we can only measure the length by what we currently can see, 10^26 meters suggests our current known length, but does not suggest it the Universe ends there.

What we do know is the Universe itself has a fractal nature, and that can be measured and observed by zooming into and outward from our perspective by a power of 10 as represented by the above video. Does consciousness itself adhere to the same fractal relationship? Does consciousness also split into parts and observe itself in each state of self-similarity? What are the hypnologic patterns and images we see when we fall asleep or meditate? They suggest something fractal in nature, so how do we explore this further?

Physical reality is the objective and observable world we exist in. If we use a fractal zoom analogy and move from the outward zoom to the inward zoom, the moment this information crosses from the external world of physical atoms and energy wave forms to a cognitive interpretation we can call Cognitive reality.

If you do not know what Cognitive reality is, or if it exists at all then close your eyes and open them again. When your view of Reality disappears into a blank screen when you closed your eyes, then returned again when you opened them is because you are observing Cognitive reality. Cognitive reality simply implies a mind-generated rendering of sensory stimuli that your physical brain manufactures by the rate by which your sensory apparatus feeds sensory input as electrical signals to neurons in your physical brain which are then stimulated in such a way as to cause the brain to render that information into a model by which you can cognitively experience reality.

Cognitive reality is a purely mind-generated phenomena of consciousness and resides in a non-localized space within your physical brain. If we zoom inward into cognitive reality, does the fractal nature of self-similar feedback into recursion still apply? If so, how could we explore this further and what would we experience? What if we could breakdown the Cognitive reality we exist in into measurable quanta? What happens when we zoom into the mental rendering of reality to a scale of 1.616252(81)×10^35 meters? The problem is, we cannot. There is no real length in Cognitive reality. The perception of space is merely a mind-generated phenomena and not actual length. The distance between your eyes and this text for example within your Cognitive reality simply exists as an interpretation of data representing the ideal of length. The distance is virtual space, not real space when you look at cognition. Just a mental model of what is out side according to sensory information.

Taking the power of 10 and zooming into the physical brain might help us see how cognition is broken down into neurons and data. The information we observe from this macroscopic view is not going to render the same image of reality that our perception models for us, but it will expose more fractal information regarding quantum states within the neurons.


The length of a neuron varies but can be reduced to 10 microns. You can already see fractal imagery within the dendrites and axons of the neuron. This is just one of the brains 100 billion rendering nodes within the Cognitive rendering farm that outputs your cognitive reality.

We zoom even further into the dendrite and we have microtubules.


If we see a magnification of microtubules, again fractal patterns emerge fulfilling the self-similarity we see in fractals.


The length of a microtubule is 0.1 micron or 100 nanometres


.Further exploration of the microtubule reveals tubulin which is a protein that makes up the microtubule.


The length of a tublin is 0.025 microns or 25 nanometres and further reduce into alpha and beta tublin which are 0.008 microns or 8 nanometres.

Further reduction takes us to the carbon atom pairs which make up the alpha/beta tublin and are themselves made up of 12 nucleons. Each alpha/beta tublin consists of ~110,000 nucleons.

Within all of this fractal reduction zooming into the physical brain lies the reality of consciousness. This neurological network of atoms, molecules, proteins and cells makes up a biological rendering farm that outputs Cognitive reality and the experience of consciousness.

Consciousness and cognition reduce into these macroscopic data storage and data processing units of the human brain. To accurately predict where consciousness starts and cellular origins of consciousness end may start at the molecular or even atomic node of the fractal zoom. Even that is speculation, it could further reduce into quantum wave forms and the Planck length. Where we exist in this conscious fractal is where all this macroscopic rendering and neural networking outputs a Cognitive reality that we observe.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 08:46 PM
We have to agree that a neuron is not our total consciousness, rather a contributing node of consciousness that adds to the total consciousness that we experience. What is cellular consciousness composed of, does it even exist? Does the neuron itself have a self-similar consciousness in reduction from our total consciousness if there is some fractal reality to consciousness? We have no objective way of knowing for certain what Cognitive reality is or appears as for a neuron or if it exists at all. We just know that a neuron contributes as a node of consciousness within the total consciousness output of our neural rendering farm. One thing is true, we objectively experience a cognitive reality defined by the stimulation of each neuron. We can reduce that experience physically into a fractal reduction. It doesn’t answer for certain if consciousness is fractal in nature, but in relativity to a neuron, it appears to be.

Human Consciousness verses every other life form.

Some would argue that human consciousness is the only consciousness of any merit or worth. Even the thought of a monkey, or a bee as having consciousness would seem blasphemous. The fact is, consciousness is merely a response of neural cognition, and any living organism that takes in sensory stimuli and processes that data into a neurological output has a Cognitive reality that it must exist in.

The consciousness reality of a cell will greatly differ from the conscious reality of a human. We are only ignorant in assuming that this cognitive reality of a cell does not exist at all. Unlike a network of cells that make up a human body and give origins to human consciousness, a single celled organism also has to survive in a macroscopic reality that is alien to us.

At their fractal zoom, the Universe appears totally different and very alien. The single celled organism, such as an Amoeba has it’s own brain in the form of a nucleolus that has to process sensory stimuli into what the cell would experience as a Cognitive reality similar to our own. Where sight is our primary interface to external stimuli, touch and tactile pressure is primary to an Amoeba. Amoeba like the human neuron also have microtubules and tublin by which affect their cognitive function to react to stimuli.

How this organizes into perception that the amoeba experiences is also self-similar to our model of perception, just reduced to a very tiny macroscopic scale. Cognitive reality is as relevant to an amoeba as it is to a human for survival. What that entails is two entirely different reality systems and experiences. The cell may not think like Rene Desecrates, “I think there for I am” in modern English, but has a primitive dim awareness that it exists enough to survive, eat and move away from unpleasant stimuli.

In biology, it would seem that anywhere there is life, there is some form of cognition required to render sensory stimuli into some cognitive representation of that stimuli. Cognitive reality exists in many shapes and sizes for many different life forms. If we could view each and every life-form’s cognitive reality and see it in the same manner as we see a fractal, the reality we would experience in each life form would be totally different then the reality we see in our own cognitive model of sensory stimuli.

Let’s imagine that we can descend into and out of a cognitive reality fractal, where by each new node represents a cognitive reality of another life form or organism. Imagine what it must be like to zoom into and experience the cognitive reality of a fish, or zoom into and experience the cognitive reality of an Amoeba, what about the cognitive reality of our very own neuron? We can follow many cognitive reality nodes into any life form on Earth and the experiences will be self-similar but different depending on the sensory apparatus and reality rendering farm that processes the output of data into a cognitive model.

Is there a Conscious Fractal?

Based on everything we have seen in the reality of fractals and cognition, there seems to an emerging idea that there is a conscious fractal. We exist in a Universe that can be experienced in a trillion of different ways by trillions of different life forms and cellular organisms where in each perception of Physical Reality is reduced to a finite Cognitive reality limited by sensory stimuli and the tublin needed to render the output.

Dreams are a journey into our own Conscious fractal. When we fall asleep at night, our consciousness undergoes a transformation where observing external stimuli is no longer required, and other cognitive functions start to emerge where something called a dream surfaces.

How is a dream self-similar to reality? If we follow fractal theory, a dream is just another fractal node of information that we experience in a mosaic of experiences gained by existing as a conscious being. Look at all the many different types of dreams and dream worlds that you remember yourself in. Think about how different each dream was. Perhaps you had a dream where you were someone else other then yourself. Maybe in one dream you were female, another you were male. The nature of dreaming allows us to experience realities that are not represented by our Physical one.

Each dream is just a fractal node of Cognitive reality that surfaces into our ability to perceive the dream. There are many dreams we have that we simply forget we perceived at all. If we follow a dream fractal, that in itself is a big rabbit hole to follow. Have you ever experienced being something other then human in your dreams?

Have you ever been a cat, a dog or an eagle? Native American shamans and many other shamanistic dreamers have reported this type of an experience from a dream. Their description of the dream reality seems to fill what we could imagine being an eagle, or dog might feel like.

From my own personal experiences, I have had these primordial dreams where I find myself in the form of a spider, a cat, even water and clouds. There is no question these are strange dreams to have, but in understanding cognitive reality and the nature of self-similar patterns in a fractal Universe, does this really come as any surprise?

What is consciousness? What is reality? How do they both relate to fractals? How do they both relate to you? Some fun thoughts to ponder no doubt.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 09:28 PM
Very interesting. I read your other thread and my question to you is, what if all the ATS members were to conduct an experiment where they were to think of the same thing, with great intent? Could we say move a spoon or a dollar, or something like that?

It's said that thoughts can form or alter reality, however, each individual's consciousness level is too weak to affect anything, less than a speck of dust really. Basically, at this stage, we can only control the most "superficial or "outer" level of consciousness.

But what if all of us were to try to move the speck of dust? Think we can organize some kind of experiments like that?

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 09:36 PM
Basically, here's how I would do it. We'll have one member live video- taped a very small piece of paper, so that everyone has a "vision" of it. Then everyone tries to move it with their thoughts just a bit, in the same direction.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 09:49 PM
A MASS psi experiment like that would be very cool. Can't predict the expected outcome would work, but I like anything that has a large group focuses on something phenomenological like moving a spec of dust, or a small marble etc.

Very interesting proposition to say the least.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 10:19 PM
Not so fast -- as math professor Steven Strogatz points out (on youtube no less!) a "fractal" is a human construct -- based on a Platonic ideal. "Real" fractals in Nature can not be mathematically modeled. So to say that reality is a fractal is in fact to invert the problem to its opposite. Mathematics is the FAKE model of reality and to just kiss up to science is to FALL ASLEEP to the truth.

reply to post by YouAreDreaming

[edit on 7-1-2010 by drew hempel]

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 10:28 PM
reply to post by drew hempel

Right, but we are talking about how fractals related to consciousness, and Dr. Thomas Campbell a Physicist who works for Nasa and has worked for the DoD building defense systems for anti-missile sheilds describes the reality fractal as a process fractal.

Book 3, Section 5, Chapter 13 last paragraph Page 148

"To be sure, the Fundamental Process does not generate a geometric fractal; instead, it produces a process fractal. You may need to generalize your concepts of fractals, but the similarity to fractal dynamics and structure is obvious. When we look at our reality, we see the results of the evolutionary process repeated at various scales and levels generating intricate convoluted patterns."

Which brings us to a process fractal that Reality is composed of, not the mathematical fractal you are thinking of, but fractal dynamics are similar.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 11:00 PM
I like to think of myself as a giant starship.

Maybe biology in our fractal resolution IS the result of a type 3 civilization in a resolution below.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 11:10 PM
It's not whether it's a "process" or "geometry" -- BOTH ARE MEASURED USING LOGARITHMIC IRRATIONALS -- a fractal is nonlinear using geometric magnitude.

So a process is just the iteration of the computation -- it's just as much geometry as a static fractal.

Consider "Cantor's Triangle" -- that's probably the most basic fractal. You can construct the fractal without using an irrational ratios because it's just 2:3 as an iteration process.

But Cantor could not apply the real number as a SET -- which is a fractal. So by set theory Cantor could not prove that any equation with a real number is a larger infinity than the fractions.

Similarly when we rely on a "contained" infinity for reality -- be it a process of containment as geometry or a set of fractions -- already there is a preconceived notion of what infinity is, before the process even begins.

This is why the paradox of the "set of no sets" is not allowed in mathematics -- as Bertrand Russell showed.

Fractals are a nice computer construct but they don't really exist in reality.

reply to post by YouAreDreaming

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 11:26 PM
reply to post by drew hempel

You should read My Big Toe with the link provided, it has some interesting theories on a digital reality and the digital nature of consciousness.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 11:39 PM
cool thread. I love the fractal nature of everything.

oh and you said 19th century in the OP, I think you meant 20th century

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 12:02 AM
reply to post by Totalstranger

You are correct on 20th century as it stems from digital research in 1975. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

It's a big pandoras box when you see reality from the concept of a fractal.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 12:05 AM
I've already read that stupid stuff -- reality is not digital. Read my blogbook

Or -- check out this dude

reply to post by YouAreDreaming

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 12:19 AM
reply to post by drew hempel

Thanks for the links, I will have to check out the golden ratio video. Qi Quong is also very interesting. I do not doubt we output certain levels of energy based off of electromagnetism since we do output a certain voltage. I believe Qi aids in directing and improving the flow of blood in the body improving body currency thus affecting the electromagnetic resonance that emits from all of the physics involved with thermal dynamics.

As for your view on fractals not having anything to do with Reality due to the mathematical principle behind them, we cannot ignore that reality has a fractal system inherent in the power of 10 video. It's blatantly obvious that there is a fractal system here, now that we have an understanding of what that visually represents.

Is it the same as mathematical fractals? Probably not, but this is a very new science so all the theories and discoveries just pending discovery and advancement.

If it looks like a duck, it's a duck. Zooming in and out of reality is very identical to a fractal. The self-similarity is apparent between an atom and the solar system and it also lends way to string theory and the Holographic principle.

With the hard compelling visual evidence, it's hard to just dismiss this fractal role how reality has arranged and organized itself.

[edit on 8-1-2010 by YouAreDreaming]

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 01:32 AM
Do you think you can overlay the planes of existence above & below our own that eastern religions talk about onto the fractal zooms you speculate to originate consciousness, our consciousness at least.?

It seems to me that consciousness only observable by zooming in reacts to it's stimuli, same as we do and we need that microscopic consciousness to exist. So with fractal in mind, if the microscopic consciousness relative to us were capable of zooming in then I would imagine it might see the same microscopic consciousness that it couldn't exist without and so on.. I could only then imagine the same would exist for us, if we were capable of zooming out enough.

This opens up a whole realm of possibilities, if only we knew the conscious capabilities of the macroscopic and microscopic consciousnesses. If we are to assume the conscious capabilities of microscopic things reacting to it's own stimuli relative to our own is less than ours, then the macroscopic consciousness could be more advanced and possibly communicating back? I guess this is where dimension come in and the ability to move our consciousness between them. Why am I stuck in this particular fractal zoom though. Who's steering this thing, pulling the strings, I want to speak with them.

^Does anyone understand that? Do it make sense to anyone else? Why is it I'm the only one to think like that? I understand it's only speculation though but then when you start question reality like this, better yet, your perception of reality it's hard to know what's really real. Also the fact that natural fungus can tell you these things without speaking doesn't help either...

Oh oh reality, what are you really?

Just let me add that it's really late for me here.

[edit on 8-1-2010 by SeeingBlue]

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 01:54 AM
Just remeber self-simular is the rule of the fractal.

That is a neuron and a reasonable rendering of the Universe. If we keep zooming out do we see a brain and a body attached to that one Universal Neuron and the process repeats into infinity? We would never know, but in fractal and holographic theory, that is very plausible. We can at least imagine it, but no real way to prove it other then a simple concept or idea.

Originally posted by SeeingBlue
Do you think you can overlay the planes of existence above & below our own that eastern religions talk about onto the fractal zooms you speculate to originate consciousness, our consciousness at least.?

Yes, we can model everything in every aspect of existence into fractal systems.

Originally posted by SeeingBlue
It seems to me that consciousness only observable by zooming in reacts to it's stimuli, same as we do and we need that microscopic consciousness to exist. So with fractal in mind, if the microscopic consciousness relative to us were capable of zooming in then I would imagine it might see the same microscopic consciousness that it couldn't exist without and so on.. I could only then imagine the same would exist for us, if we were capable of zooming out enough.

It is one more way that this Universe and reality opens itself up into many-worlds or a multiverse of unknown number and complexity. Reality is probably infinite in both directions, no way to really know.

Originally posted by SeeingBlue
This opens up a whole realm of possibilities, if only we knew the conscious capabilities of the macroscopic and microscopic consciousnesses. If we are to assume the conscious capabilities of microscopic things reacting to it's own stimuli relative to our own is less than ours, then the macroscopic consciousness could be more advanced and possibly communicating back? I guess this is where dimension come in and the ability to move our consciousness between them. Why am I stuck in this particular fractal zoom though. Who's steering this thing, pulling the strings, I want to speak with them.

I have really thought deep into that, but no time now cause wife is kicking my butt to bed. I will come back to this thought.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 05:08 PM
reply to post by SeeingBlue

In more abstract thinking we are looking at this concept of the conscious fractal, which represents a potential iteration of what self-awareness is. As you said, fungus speaks this to us, lots of entheogens have this effect to reveal a sensation of a fractating conscious perception. This discussion however is not for this forum so we will just make the reference to that as part of the effect of fractal consciousness when influenced from something other then sleep or meditation.

What this implies is that we can reduce consciousness down to quantum states and apply very tiny theories to understand something very large. If through non-linear abstraction this web of reality that the process fractal has generated exists, and everything is merely attached as if looking at a Mandlebrot set.

It is only a conscious fractal observing itself. For a very long time, I have had a triangular hourglass image etched into my dreams. It now has a lot more meaning so let me diagram it.

This demonstrates Conscious Dualism where [ p ] stands for perception.


The observer looks both ways, outwards into physical reality, and inwards to the Cognitive mirror that perception then renders.

In this model, what the observer sees, is what they render as a mirror in Cognitive Reality.

If consciousness is reduced to a fractal, it may share a simular dualism that may even form a shape conciderably close to this diagram. At least the three points are needed for 3D perception.

I have more but out of time, will try to get back on this thought as to the who is pulling the strings of all reality.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 05:35 PM
You see a lot of the same patterns throughout reality whether it's in nature, mediation, dreams, or other things. Reality appears to be controlled on a base level by this pattern. It affects all aspects seen and unseen to us including our behaviors and movements, as a whole it's noticeable but not on an individual level.

I want to know what that means, where did this pattern come from, why was it used where when why did it start?

I believe great complexity arises from simple rules. I think this pattern is the simple rules and it spawn the great complexity of our reality and even ourselves..

But when I start thinking about that I get the feeling that there isn't much diversity in the universe, there is only the illusion of such... peel back all the layers and everything is the same.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 05:43 PM
Exactly there are simple rules for these patterns.

The rule is what I call the "natural resonance revolution"

Essentially it is this -- when we listen then we perceive energy-matter transformation as complementary opposites.

Science works on symmetry so with science there is no direct resonance with reality as complementary opposites.

The simple rule is this 2:3, the Perfect 5th in nonwestern music is Taoist yang while 3:4, the Perfect 4th, is Taoist yin -- this is also the secret of the three gunas of Vedic philosophy. So the Pythagorean Tetrad is the simple rule of the natural resonance revolution.

Science attempts to close off infinity by measuring time as spatial distance -- this started as the Greek Miracle through "alogon" with Plato, Archytas and Eudoxus. It's great for precise measurements for technology but there's also a reliance on resource destruction and transformation of Earth into a genocidal apocalypse.

But we keep getting taught that "science" is the answer -- actually nonwestern music mind-body transformation is the answer.

I took classes from this Chinese energy master who works with the Mayo Clinic. Check out this testimonials:

So when people practice this basic yin-yang natural resonance then they create free healing energy.

reply to post by SeeingBlue

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 05:46 PM
The power of ten is a way of counting and making technology. It's based on "divide and average" math as logarithms. Reality is based on complementary opposites. You can not SEE reality -- you can listen to it as a process of resonance. It creates the fractal light patterns but again, as math professor Strogatz emphasizes, the math of fractals is a Western construct.

Try taking ayahausca or some '___' analog -- you will see what I call the "rainbow vortex of reality" -- but it's a mind-body transformation -- it's not just a fractal -- it's from complementary opposites.

That's why Kepler was against the closed form of the Golden Ratio.

reply to post by YouAreDreaming

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