Q: What might be the common denominator of Milan Kundera, Jack’s bean tree, and a cockroach?
Pyramid cauliflower, snowflake, fern, bismuth crystal, sunflower, peacock, kale, turtle, pinecone, seashell…
I have explained on previous chapters how plants, animals, or even inanimate organic or inorganic entities achieve their shapes that are perceived by us via fractal geometry by repeating themselces based on a predetermined functional pattern. All beings existing in nature either living or inanimate consist of the trillions of iterations of their original shape based on their proper function. The building block in the simple initial model is inclined to acquire infinite iterations due to its inherent mechanism. And when and once environmental factors i.e. chemicals, gravity, energy availability, minerals, pressure, temperature, features of the pattern, organic or inorganic building block characteristics have reached a certain saturation the entity reaches a state of equilibrium, can no longer grow, reproduce or proliferate.
When Nozawa removed the above listed limiting factors from the equation his tomato crop turns into a gigantic plantation of 17 thousand tomatoes. The fractal function repeats itself and grows as much as is allowed by its new limitations—the metal frame, water and mineral supply.
And what about Teo Jansen’s creatures? Could you argue that these PVC pipes are not living creatures? How are they any different mechanically from an ant or a cockroach?
When I first encountered the Pyramid (Romanesco) Cauliflower, I could not grasp the fact that it was a tru plant. Its details are too flawless to be those of a plant, too good to be true—they seemed as if they were manufactured with utmost precision as plastic pieces of decoration. I mean, the cauliflower itself is a conical shape but so are the pieces it consists of. And all those little conical shapes that create the whole are a miniature version of the actual cauliflower.
Why can’t we then just assume that the human being and all other complex vertebrates have constructed their morphology in the extent of the same mechanical principle? Here is what I think: since the sunflower, pyramid cauliflower, snail, and turtle have their own iterative fractal patterns, what if we, homo sapiens, and all other complex organisms possess a certain similar fractal function and are no different than Teo Jansen’s ‘beasts on the beach’ with their self-repetition mechanism?
The appearance of the human being is not a clearly repetitive pattern like those of the cauliflower or the sunflower.the sunflower is much simpler. And this might make you think that the fractal function exists only in those kinds of creatures since we don’t observe a similar obvious repetition, homogeneity, monotony or regularity when we look at the anatomy of the human being or the tiger. The reason for that lies in our DNA. Our DNA, our building block—the nucleotide—exists in each and every one of our cells and it needs to duplicate itself every time a cell divides—doing so billions of times, it eventually creates our physiology the way we know it. The complexity and the extremely wide number of combinations that can occur within the processes of our DNA duplication and its pattern prevents our appearance from being homogeneous. Yet this does not at all mean that homology is out of question without homogeneity. Meaning, our complexity is not mutually exclusive with the possibility that we are created by the same principles as other seemingly less complex creatures.
Remember the various shapes that differ throughout the process in the Mandelbort design. Given the human DNA being much more complicated than a shape such as a triangle, it should not come as a surprise that the final outcome is shaped in an outstandingly intricate format. Triangles turn into snowflakes, and likewise human DNA makes human, same way the tiger DNA makes tiger.
The simpler the initial shape—the origin—is, the more primitive of an end product is the result of its billions of times of iterations. Meanwhile something as complex of an initial entity as the human genome with 300 thousands of codons gets relatively and accordingly more complex, elegant, more functional and a much heavier in creating its end-product: us.
Either light or heavy, all beings from sunflower to cockroach to human why not simply Theo Jansen’s beasts wandering on the beach?