This is the Mandelbrot set. It is a fractal. This unending set of self-similar shapes emerge from a simple function:
Its beauty is truly infinite, which is why I love it.
These shapes connect many of the systems that are of most interest to us: trees are fractals, financial markets are fractals, democracies are fractals. Their fractal nature comes, partly, from the fact that they are self-affecting, and thus repeat themselves on many scales. The smallest bow on a tree branches just like the trunk.
This fractal is an analogy of analogy-making. It is self-aware. That previous sentence is a metaphor: my specialty is to form surprising but intuitive metaphors between distant things and fields, which then seem natural to people.
This ability comes naturally to people who do a lot of things. I’ve built and helped to build albums, novels, systems, businesses.
Doing a lot of things helps me see connections between ideas. Seeing the connections helps me to read a lot and remember a lot. If you’ve met me, I have probably connected something you like to something new.
This helps me to understand people that think differently and find commonalities. My friend told me that I’m her index on listening to people different ideas and mindsets.
I’ve built teams and businesses through these commonalities. To build businesses you have to sell. I’ve sold to the United Nations.
I can sell because I know how to listen. I know how to listen because I understand silence.
If you understand silence you can figure out music, I’m good enough at music to get a whole bar clapping along with me.
Understanding music opens the music of writing. I was paying my bills from writing as a teenager.
Writing uncovers language, language uncovers logic, logic uncovers principles; principles give you respect.
But I’m brave enough not to stay silent if a mob or cult tells me to shut up while claiming virtue. An idea with internally consistent logic is enough for me. I don’t mind being the only person on my side.
Though sometimes I go too far into my own head and worry that people dislike me.
Or I might underestimate other people’s abilities and hold on when I should let go; I can hold on to things so tightly that they take two or three times as long as they should.
But I’m comfortable with the different parts of myself.
Which helps me to ask for help from people who are different from me.
To ask for help you have to admit the empty spaces in your knowledge.
The Tao gives birth to One. One gives birth to Two. Two gives birth to Three. Three gives birth to all things.
Something can come from nothing. You can bring forth order from chaos.
All that is required is the ability to listen and to make connections.