Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Humans as Fractals

First let me offer a few words about fractals and also this link should my explanation not be to your liking.
Fractals is a word that should be closely associated with the word fractions.
The science of fractals suggests that all things take on a similar look when a fraction of them is viewed closer and closer and closer still.
For example a coastline as viewed from outer space will show many inlets, outlets, craggy points and offer a generally ragged look.  If you were to view just a small portion of the same coastline, say a one tenth fraction you might be surprised to notice the same features as the original view.  A further diminution of the new coastline view will offer another similar view.  Keep moving closer by a factor of ten and you should be rewarded with similar rugged looks all the way down to the molecular level!
In fact if you placed a view of the molecular level alongside that of the original outer space view you might be surprised at their overall similarities.
Fractals also appear in nature in the veins and structure
of a leaf.

But how about human nature?  Can we find fractal similarities in groups of people?
I argue that the same is true about the ins and out-lets of the human animal, at least when viewing financial wealth from a safe and lofty outer space-like perch.
Let's look at the tremendously wealthy, the uber wealthy, the top one tenth of one percent of Americans.
Here you will see a group of people who jockey for position and power versus each other nearly all the time.
They do this almost without realizing it as one might prepare breakfast or pick up a newspaper to read.
And they do so for many reasons not the least of which is sport but also for increased power and more control over their personal environment.
Left alone they will continue to move in the same way constantly looking for more money and more ways to get more money.
What will they do with the increased wealth?
It doesn't matter, it's all part of the game.
These people hardly notice any of the fractals below them. But they should since  without there can be no wealth!
Let's move down the financial fractal chain by an order of ten and view the extremely wealthy or so-called one per-centers.
This group of people will not live long enough to spend half their massive fortunes yet they too jockey for position versus their peers in a never ending struggle to move ahead.
Their constant desire to 'win' also eggs them on for more money and more control of their sheltered environment.
They are somewhat aware of the group above them but pay them less heed than the group just below as those are to be shunned and feared as social climbing wannabes.
In their own circles or rather bubbles they act very much like the obscenely wealthy only a bit less so.
Still they have problems that keep them up at night such as, 'How can we afford to buy a second yacht and next to which home would we moor it?'
Take the next move down the food chain with another fractal drop of ten percent and view now the upper middle class, the nouveau riche, the 'well to do' working class.
This group has made it, as far as they are concerned but nevertheless still maneuver and think and plan on getting further ahead.  They include groups such as snowbirds, who have a home up north perhaps at a ski resort and a winter home in Florida or some other warm clime.
They are the ones usually thought of when using the phrase keeping up with the Joneses.  They would love to move up but they too are more aware of the groups below and sometimes feel it is their duty to keep the division and distinction alive lest others move into their neighborhood.
You all know the ones they mean!  Better sell now before it's too late.
And the next leap, or rather drop of ten percent brings us into the heart of America, the bulk of the working class, the steady sturdy middle class.
This former backbone of the country now finds itself being used as fodder by the groups above.
It is the largest populated group in all of fractal land.
If the upper fractals can take just ten dollars from each of the people in this group it would add up to massive amounts for them.  And surely no one would miss ten dollars a year, would they?
The inhabitants of this middle class fractal are also constantly jockeying for position with regards to their friendly fractal neighbors.
They realize how close they are to being dropped down a fractal and have recently all but given up on hopes of rising up and out.  With them it's all about keeping the tide from flooding their coastline and sending them into ruin.
And this brings us to the lowest fractal of all, the molecular level if you will of feared financial fractal-dom, the poor. They are also known as the needy, the indigent, the homeless.
This group with the least is feared the most by all fractals above it.
Yet they too only wish to make their environs livable and jockey, albeit at a much slower pace for morsels and pennies to help them eat and survive.
There will be scuffles in this group since human nature exists in all of us.
They must get ahead of others to survive another day.
And just like the creatures on the sand of an ocean beach who may never see the big picture their universe consists of the immediate.
Many fight over a few square feet of a sidewalk living space or a cardboard box in which to sleep.  Some covet a well trafficked street corner from which to beg for donations from higher fractal passers by.
They go mostly unnoticed by society.
Every fractal above this group uses them to some degree to stoke the fires of fear and promote the 'there but for the grace of God' feeling they hear or preach to others.
Each group has a NIMBY attitude toward the lesser fractals.
But we are all basically the same with the major difference merely being the size of our bank account or the lack thereof.
And just as the coastline viewed from outer space knows nothing of it's molecular sized fractal the top financial fractal group of Americans spends little or no time thinking of the homeless.
Yet once again remember that without the lower groups these people would not have their cushy lifestyle or even exist.
A wave crashing onto the coastline cares not for the sands it causes to disappear but perhaps it should.


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