The Fractal Ideas

Today I went to Waikoloa for a change of scene. After not feeling so great the past few days I thought some sun and people watching would be nice.

Iain, a great friend of mine facebooked on the drive about a composition contest. And, while avoiding texting and driving, I called him. We started talking music, a subject we could both talk about in abundance.

We got on the subject of actually finishing a piece (music composition). I rarely finish compositions, if ever. And, he has the same compulsion unless a deadline is involved.

The discussion progressed and this idea came to me. It complimented our subject of unfinished work. I had some unplanned insight into understanding myself.

Now is where I go off on a tangent, it makes sense, ish. If you don’t know what an imaginary number is, google it. And, if you want a visual look at the video above. It shows that a fractal can be forever scaled. If you zoom in (and re-graph) you would see it has no end; only more spiders out. When you zoom in on those spiders there are more. It just keeps going. It’s semi-accurate to say it’s like a sequel of itself. It connects but each image is its own thing. (And we now have the land before time 34 and so on)

The realization of that infinite zoom comes later. But for now, just think of a small crack in your windshield. Maybe it’s fractalizing right now….anyway.

I had a realization of how I approach many of the important choices in my life. I try to see all the implications, outcomes and effects of a given choice. I analyze the crap out of choosing which iron to buy or what phone case to give my mom. My thoughts go to the third or forth zoom so I try to see everything in its entirety and  attempt to make the best choice that fits in concert with all the other choices I’ve made, am making, or will make. I try to leave things open ended as much as possible to prevent conflict or limitation in the future. Or, I lock down because I think I know what the ramifications are and am okay or desirous of the predicted outcomes. In our fractal analogy, the spiders of broken glass look good to me when I’ve made a call.

This explains the dozens of half finished logos, compositions, emails, letters, project ideas, etc. All of which can spark completely new ideas of their own. Usually they too, get added to the pile.

New ideas are  where I can see clearly the possibility of awesome. I like spearheading change because I like to see how it all fits. And, I love it when I can get others to see their own ideas and how they fit and spark their own change. It’s like getting to break your own glass and controlling how the fractals look and where they go. Wether or not the mathematics make sense the idea is that the introduction of change in the optimal setting is controlled and there are no other fractals in the way. Ha. this is packaged as “Seamless Transitions” or “Complete Integration.” When that doesn’t work we create little side systems that support the major ones, and so on.

Being able to see the big picture through all the little decisions is great, right?

Now that I’m seeing more of who I am and how I operate, I’m finding where I create a constant stress. Going back and forth from way zoomed in to big picture and failing to work within a given perspective. In the fractal analogy I can go from five or six zooms to 1; but, it takes me a while and by the time I get zoomed out ,  I’ve made decisions along the way  that change what’s being rendered. As confusing as that is to imagine I assure you my head gets tired.

The complexity of my perception is likened to being a car designer thinking of a new interior car design, while driving the first production car of the last concept, thinking about how to improve it, listening to a GPS announce where to turn, then calling the restaurant to change the reservation because GPS is stating traffic is backed up, quieting the friend (the back seat driver), and switching calls to the new dashboard designer of the current concept car, listening to the friend in the back seat saying to take a left…. And then, (ahead of the GPS’s estimation, due to the back seat driver’s suggestion) arriving at the restaurant early and being completely in that moment laughing at Apple’s ‘Maps app’ for saying it was going to take an extra 45mins to get there. Also, (of course) wondering if there is an app that incorporates better traffic flow that should be used next time. If you can imagine pushing all those ideas, tasks and inputs out to all their possibilities the amount of thought involved is exhausting.

I’m in a constant state of self-evaluation. I strive to have the next layer of fractals all covered so I’m ready for any and all questions, or concerns and I’ll will have a recommendation supported by a bunch of research. I know how to answer the questions because I’m 4 zooms in and have explored every nook and cranny. I’ve found where they all lead and, based on the desired outcome I’ll have choices ranked with their pros-and-cons.

I’m finding that to be less than advantageous as I approach and engage ideas, people, goals and the like. There is an optimum time and context to evaluate and know 4 layers of fractal like detail in how and why things are being done. But, an idea’s infancy, or getting to know someone, or developing a goal is not it. The evaluative process can effect the very thing its evaluating in ways impossible to measure.

I’m finding this to be true in works (compositions) that I wrote completely under the influence.  I’ve had a rare listen to some of my recordings. I liked what I heard, not to be less-than-humble, but I evoked emotion. As I try to ‘do it again’ I fall short of what I know I can do. I get stuck in the bubble of trying to sound ‘some way’— rather than letting an idea out into the world and letting others do with it what they please, e.g. not trying to predict and shape what they do with it. The letting go of the built-in evaluative process I think could be freeing. Now to figure out how to do it. (Yes I’ll read my first blog I may be circling the same point!)

I just had another idea (I’m full of it/them…). Today’s automobiles have more sensors than ever; ways to evaluate the vehicle’s systems on the fly;  a sensor for the O2 mix, a sensor for the traction of each tire, a sensor for the car’s angle in relation to the road etc. When one of those sensors fails and it’s not the mechanics of the car;  you could be hauling down the highway belting ‘Little Lion Man’ and  the car can run just fine. But, from the driver’s perspective, a check engine light comes on and woe dang, its time to head to a dealership. Interesting thought. I wonder how many sensors I have and if they are giving me information that is emergent and influential to how I function, or, more of a ‘you should check that if you get a chance.’

As I get more feedback from life, I’m figuring out when, and to what extent evaluation is a helpful tool. Knowing that I don’t have to micro-manage myself based on a live evaluation is a powerful realization of late. As I plan  my departure at a job I’ve worked for a number of years; I’ve discovered that, in lieu of a consistent supervisor I’d popped into a modus operandi that was constantly evaluating efficiency in the form of: systems, methodologies, processes, procedures, and time management (primarily my own but my evaluation didn’t stop there). Against my own yardstick I kept coming up short. Realizing how far I was from where I wanted to be and not knowing how to make up the difference, much less planning for it, lead me to feel unsuccessful. And, this coupled with little to no feedback from a supervisor, perpetuated this line of thinking. I’ve been twenty layers zoomed in, wondering why I’m not feeling successful as the entire context changes I feel compelled to start over based on the new situation.

I’m excited at the realization that, yes my own perception of me is important, it isn’t the only thing present in who I am. If I look a bit closer, and closer still I can see someone else’s story crossing my own out there in one of the fractals, or a couple, their perception of me in the context of our story’s overlap can prove just as insightful.

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