The Future of Today

Howard Rheingold, the provocative and quirky social commentator and author of Smart Mobs, recommends spending a good and regular amount of time cruising the web just to see what’s happening.  I’ve been glad to have my natural proclivity (obsession?) for information consumption validated by an authority like Rheingold.  Thank God, you can’t get fat by simply looking at digitized data, although it’s probably not a good idea to be eating cake and chocolate milk at the same time you’re surfing.

It was in one of these cruises recently that I ran across Michael Coleman’s stupendous  The Future of Today.  There is so much on this site that is both new and familiar to me that I could not do justice to the content if I were to spend two days writing an entry here. 

For example, I found his compendium of fractals truly mind-boggling, not to mention all of the linkages that could come from digging into his references.  Fractals display the phenomenal artistic power of nature.  I think that they must make some feature of consciousness manifest, since they are so immediately aesthetically appealing.  Even though I greatly admire Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s  work,  I don’t accept his criticism of Plato fully (or maybe I just don’t understand it completely), and I find the sort of “perfect, rational, eternal, and changeless original” essence of Beauty that Plato so admired revealed in fractals. 

Below is a wada fractal found at, at very high resolution presenting “an infinite series of inter-reflections which occurs when mirrored spheres” (such as Christmas ornaments!) “are packed together.  It may also illuminate properties of other processes because the fractal is produced by perfect spheres arranged into the most economical packing arrangement used by nature and most waves are actually spherical.” 

  Photo by Paul Bourke

I believe that the study of fractals also offers insight into the “infinity of infinities” that so obsessed Georg Cantor, the German mathematician who was little known in his time, but whose insights have recently become legendary, not least among students of mysticism generally and Jewish mysticism in particular.

Cantor is another amazing one of us, who, to my reading, demonstrated that there are literally an unending number of infinities.  Spending time simply considering this fact is a core ingredient of Kabbalah.  I believe that more and more art of the future will reflect the results of meditating on infinity.  As we become ever more aware of being in infinity, our art will help us see and comprehend reality.  (By the way, if you want to see someone step into the stars, as Cantor seems to do in this picture, check out Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.”

Does a closer investigation of reality discover doors that link the inner and outer universes? Some of’s fractal pages include images that seem to find “eerily organic and dream-like shapes  by zooming deep into the Pi Wada Basin:”

Coleman’s Random Images pages (which go on for a long time!) are full of the fascinating, horrific, creepy, and truly whacky. 
Where does he get this stuff?!   Yup, that’s Mt. Fuji in the background of this abandoned theme park. 
(You’re looking at a painted rock.)


Of most interest to Coleman is a wide swath of occult/cosmological art by Paul Laffoley, who is a genius as far as Coleman is concerned, but not that appealing to me on the basis of pure aesthetics.  Fascinating upper class person, however.  Like many occultists, Laffoley has a very elaborated cosmology that is an amalgam of  religious traditions.


(Is it just me, but why are these guys always bald?!)

Ken Wilbur:  

Visiting is like going to a spa without having to leave home.  You’ll enjoy some rooms at the resort more than others, but the overall experience is exhilarating!

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