You’ve seen it before, I’m sure: in comedy or magic, on television or in stories – the endless opening of a box only to reveal another box, or the opening of a door to reveal yet another door. A modern day high-tech example of such a principle of endless discovery and renewal is the computerized fractal, which by definition is “a mathematically conceived curve such that any small part of it, enlarged, has the same statistical character as the original” (Oxford English Dictionary.) Applying the mathematical principles of the fractal and graphically demonstrating its meaning on a computer reveals an endlessly enticing and infinitely renewable world of beauty.
But also, there are thousands of examples of fractals in nature. A tree, for example, has limbs, which have branches, which have other branches. Or consider the beauty of an onion, with its layer upon layer upon layer. Even the biological reproduction of life itself demonstrates the beautiful qualities of endlessness. Just imagine the graphic representation of the seeming endless unfolding of God’s eternal plan. Conceiving of such beauty seems hardly possible. Additionally, it seems that human creativity is fractal-like, having no end to its refreshing newness.
Though I’m sure that now he would gladly rescind the statement, the then Commissioner of the US Patent Office, Charles H. Duell, said this in 1899 about innovation: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” I guess that in his opinion creativity was dead. How terribly hopeless he must have felt to think that new problems could no longer be solved by the creative power of man.
As I grow older it’s made ever clearer in my mind that each one of us is on the road to a physical death. And though most of our bodies’ cells are constantly being renewed, the overall aging process is slowing down until regeneration finally ends. On the other hand, I believe that both mentally and spiritually we are eternally regenerative and that our souls have lives apart from our bodies.
For centuries philosophers have debated the relationship between mind, spirit and body. Simply put, you either believe that life of some sort transcends the body, or it doesn’t. In my opinion, life clearly demonstrates that both mentally and spiritually we are storing, learning, and in a sense perfecting, our own particular nature. Let me further explain.
I’ve heard it said before: “as you get older you get more like yourself.” With age, the angles and lines of one’s personality become sharper and more pronounced. And it is in this strict sense that I say human progression tends to be a type of perfecting. Certainly, I’m not talking about moral or intellectual perfection, but rather a further confirmation of one’s personality and overall sense of life.
Now, I do believe that change is certainly possible – even a radical transformation. But generally, the common threads of personality and natural inclination become more acute over time. Just as the graphic representation of a fractal begins as a smooth curve and progresses toward an intricate design, so does the smooth and rounded newborn baby mature into beautiful and complex adult.
Day 3 Guide
What a great day! Today I want you to think about your physical, intellectual and spiritual maturity. Consider the things that you should be doing to further perfect yourself.
© 2005, Levi Hill