Heaven's Fractal Net

Heaven's Fractal Net

Retrieving Lost Visions in the Humanities
William J. Jackson
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/26/2004
Format: Paperback 55 b&w photos, 32 color photos, 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21620-5
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Fractal" is a term coined by mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot to denote the geometry of nature, which traces inherent order in chaotic shapes and processes. Fractal concepts are part of our emerging vocabulary and can be useful in identifying patterns of human behavior, culture, and history, while enhancing our understanding of the nature of consciousness.

According to William J. Jackson, the more one studies fractals, the more apparent their connections to the humanities become. In the recursive patterns of religious music, in temple architecture in India, in cathedral structures in Europe and America, in the imagery of religious literature depicting infinity and abundance, and in poetic descriptions of the nature of consciousness, fractal-like configurations are pervasive. Recognition of this structure, which is also found in social organizations and ritual symbolism, requires only that one develop "an eye for fractals" by studying the work of researchers and observing nature. One then begins to see that the separation of humanities and science is convenient oversimplification, not an ultimate fact. Includes a DVD of animated fractals.

Author Bio

William J. Jackson, Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, is author of Tyagaraja, Life and Lyrics, and Songs of Three Great South Indian Saints. Jackson lives in Indianapolis.


“Brings a refreshingly innovative approach to religious culture and thought. It is the first book-length study to explore the tractal and fractal-like patterns found in cultures. It explores visiions in the humanities, including examples from Buddhist philosophy, Dante's Divine Comedy, creative processes in the arts, the literature of mysticism, and spiritual ideals in popular culture.”

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Table of Contents

Introductory Reflections: Little Alps and Big Alps, Again and Again

Strand One: The Weave of the Net

Strand Two: Shipshape Earth and Other Fractal Holding Patterns

Strand Three: Like Father, Like Son

Strand Four: Creatures of Creativity, Creativity of Creatures

Strand Five: Atom Snowflow Kingdom Earth: Fractals in Literature

Strand Six: Elephant Carved in Ivory: Nature/Culture Fractal Wholeness

Strand Seven: Envoy: Child of Oneness