The number “one” is something that many may not find very significant of a figure, for it seemingly only includes that which we have come to know as “single”. “One is the loneliest number” describes the collective attitude toward a number which symbolizes isolated loneliness. But what if I were to tell you that a representation of the entirety of all that is, can be found within the number “one”, and that it can be used to illustrate the very workings of all existence? Would you believe me?
To begin with, I will start by introducing a subject which I have been studying on and off for a while now, but recently picked it up with full force. That subject is fractals. To define this briefly, fractals are an infinite set of repeating self-similar patterns, existent on all scales of measurement and magnification (see my paper on the holographic nature of reality for further reading). In other words, fractals are figures that are made up of the same pattern over and over again, reaching for infinity, essentially revealing “empty form”. All of nature, and the entire universe are rendered fractal expressions. It is not a fundamental principle–it is the principle. Fractals describe emptiness brilliantly, because fractals in fact ARE empty.
The well-known symbol of fractal geometry, the Mandelbrot Set, possess an eye-dazzling array of colors and dynamic designs, and it is worth studying for this reason alone. However, there is far more to the Mandelbrot Set than meets the eye, for it is the essence of what fractals are. When looking at the set from a “high” vantage point (as seen in the figure below), one can see the circular shape of a darkened beetle-like figure. Upon zooming in to attempt to observe the details, one will find an interesting phenomenon: the “solidity” of the detail seems to give way to more generations of the same design. When one delves further still, there exists more of the same thing. It’s as if there is no absolute structure comprising this figure, and one would be right in coming to such a conclusion, for this “psychedelic mind trip” pattern goes on infinitely. In other words, essentially, despite the fact that there clearly was a form present when we started, deeper investigation uncovers a “bottomless pit” phenomenon, where the form gives way to further self-similar constituents. It truly has no things making it up at all–it is empty. Taking this emptiness a bit further, it is clear to anyone who takes the time to look, that nature operates with the exact same formula as the Mandelbrot Set. All things that exist, from plants to humans to planets, all have no defining structure at their core. To see to the “core” of anything, all one needs to possess is the right instruments.
The study of fractals lends to helping one understand centuries old wisdom, like that of Zen masters who propounded that emptiness is in fact form; form is emptiness (a principle tenant of the well-known Heart Sutra). This is a principle which modern science is discovering more and more, and pervades all facets of reality, from “physical” forms, to intangible components such as thoughts, even the POTENTIAL awareness of an organism, resultant of the amount of processing power it has (we high-functioning humans are a perfect example when compared to, say, a fly).
But how does this all relate to the number one, you may ask? Well let us examine the number and see what we get.
Upon initial inspection, “one” is nothing special. But ask yourself, what makes up a “one”? Well, a “one” is constituted of two halves (1/2 and 1/2). These halves again are constituted of halves, and the resultant halves constituted of halves still. How long can the generation of halving numbers extend to? Infinity. Why? Because a limit is never reached, because the value keeps getting reduced. Now, despite the fact that we are going down in scale, a counterintuitive thing occurs, and that is that the amount of numbers (not the VALUE in this case) increases. In my exploration into this phenomenon, I make the analogy of the body to numbers. The “one” represents the body, the next generation represents the organs for instance, the next generation the cells, the next generation the organelles of the cells, the next the molecules, then the atoms and so on. One will note that like in nature, as the scale decreases, just like with the numbers, the amount increases, which can lend to explaining the unfathomably large amount of atoms that exist in the universe. We can also take “one” and go in the opposite direction, adding two ones to get two, three etc., creating “communities” of bodies. All of these bodies (numbers) are made of emptiness.
It is reasonable to assume that due to the very existence of infinity in these terms, that infinity is a property of the universe, and thus there exists levels far beyond the perceived “basement” Plank Scale (10-35)–likewise in the opposite direction. There is quite literally an infinite amount of potential possibilities within any and everything–infinity within general space, within our bodies, and most importantly for us, within our minds.
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