Strait is the Gate and Narrow is the Way

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As I was writing the previous post another thought occurred to me and nearly derailed the intent and writing of that post.

As you all know, I love fractals. I play with fractals. I visit the fractal world on every occasion I can set aside to do so. If you get a chance, google "Mandelbrot Set" and see if you can find one of the many sites on which you can play with the set.

The Mandelbrot set is the plotting in a complex mathematical plane of a certain set of functions. The black portion of the plotting are the members of the set--in the infinite space of the coordinate plane, an extremely narrow, confined, limited purview. Think of this as the strait gate.

Now, if you have a "microscope" for viewing fractals and you begin to look very very closely at something like the Mandelbrot set, particularly around the edges, you'll discover an infinite number of self-similar and self-affine copies of the set. That is, the larger image shows up over and over again in the smaller. But even more interestingly, as you focus on the edges, you enter, depending on the area you are looking at unique worlds of shapes. Every space on the set is part of the set and similar to all areas, and yet every area on the set has its own magical uniqueness.

Analogically, Jesus' "narrow way" and "strait gate" that lead to salvation is the "Mandelbrot set." You must belong to the set, be a member of the set to make it to salvation. However, everyone is a unique member of that set and the place that we find ourselves is a unique environment in that set. ("We are many members but all one body.") That narrow way is, in fact, infinite in its complexity and diversity and beauty.

I know this is a difficult analogy to follow, but it is so beautiful because it touches on some many aspects of our lives. Yes, the paths we can choose that lead to destruction are many and varied--infinite in themselves, and curiously, not terribly interesting. The real interest in the world of existence comes as you approach the Body, the Kingdom, as defined by the edges of the set. As you move closer and closer and actually join the set, you find the infinite world of salvation and glory of the Lord, majestic, beautiful beyond words and specially, individually tailored for each one of us.

Who knew how thankful I would grow to be for higher math?

Later: You can go here and try the parameters X min, max (-0.7, -0.5) Y min, max (-0.7, -0.5) for starters just to get a glimpse of what the world of fractals is like. If your computer is java-friendly this site has a clickable Mandelbrot set explorer applet. For those disinclined to exploration this site has a few images that give you the general idea.

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Glad I am not the only one who has enjoyed this analogy! Holograms is another that I have enjoyed thinking about

I like this analogy, especially also being a fan of looking at the Mandelbrot set. This might also be a good analogy for mysteries of the faith. That we can delve deeper and see more detail, but are finite abilities can only go so for since the level of detail in a mystery is infinite.

Did you know there was at least one book using based on a world using the Mandelbrot Set and Julia Sets? Though Piers Anthony's - Fractal Mode doesn't explain these sets very well within the story.

I also love fractals. I used to have a screen saver that generated fractals - on my old old computer (the 486 chip - remember them?) it was a leisurely unfolding of swirls. On my newer computers, I had to delete the program because it went too dizzyingly fast.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 5, 2005 8:15 AM.

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