Science and Their “Definitions”
Most scientifically minded folks object when a person like me uses a word like “fractal.” Not surprisingly, as someone with Asperger’s, I define this word a bit differently than most. Please know that it took me more than a decade to find a satisfying way to define this word. Only recently, after finishing my latest book, did I begin to feel confident I’d succeeded.
How do I define the word, fractal?
A fractal is a “recognizable pattern which always repeats differently.” In constellated science, however, single points cannot properly define things. To define something properly, a scientific definition requires two things. One, you must construct a pair of single points connected by a thread of similarity. Two, each of these two points must be the perfect complement to the other.
A fractal can be but one of these points. Thus, so far, I have described only one point. What would the other point be? Fortunately, in this case, it’s easy to find. The complement of a “recognizable pattern which always repeats differently” is a “recognizable pattern which always repeats identically.” Science has even given this point a name. They call it a “linear pattern.”
If we now juxtapose these two points, we accomplish some truly amazing things. To begin with, we define the continuum on which all possible scientific discoveries can occur. Here, the basic mandate of science is to discover the patterns underlying all natural things. And all of these patterns either tip into the fractal pattern pile or the linear pattern pile.
Now take a moment to consider the importance of scientifically defining linearity. The current scientific method sees linear patterns as the only acceptable proof of truth. Here, they spend untold dollars and hours trying to get results which repeat the same way every time. Why? Because to them these kinds of repetitions are the only acceptable proof for truth. Indeed, the more perfectly things repeat, the more science sees them as true.
The problem of course is that nothing in the real world ever repeats the same way twice. No two acorns or roses or cumulus clouds will ever be identical. Nor will any real world thing ever remain identical over time. Or as Heraclitus said, “you cannot step into the same river twice.”
What does this mean about the current state of science?
In a way then, we could call these truths, linear truths—”recognizable patterns which always repeat identically.” If we now juxtapose these two close-to-identical definitions, we define the continuum on which all possible scientific answers live. At one end are fractal truths—”recognizable patterns which always repeat differently.” And at the other end are linear truths—”recognizable patterns which always repeat identically.”
Fractal truths repeat differently. Linear truths repeat identically. Now recall, traditional science sees linearity as the only acceptable proof for truth. Unfortunately, while repeatable, reliable, logically sound statistics obviously have their place, nothing in the real world is linear. And a science which ignore fractal truths is doomed to forever remain trapped inside the laboratory.
Juxtapose linearity with fractility, however, and we override this shortcoming. Fractility becomes the proof of truth in the real world—and linearity the proof of truth in theory. This also gives us a meaningful starting point from which to define seemingly impossible things such as human nature. , understand much of what we’ll be looking at in this series of books, including a way to see how theoretical and real world truths relate. In addition, we get a legitimately scientific way to define the nature of things, both linear and non linear alike. And we also get to understand the essence of what stumped as great a mind as Einstein—how uncertainty relates to certainty.
(excerpted from “The Science of Discovery, 2016.”)