Fractals for a non-mathematician

There are several ways to define this family of sometimes weird, sometimes cliched, but always beautiful family of mathematical objects called fractals:
1. These are objects which have a fractional dimension.
2. These are objects which have self-similarity.
3. These are objects which have INFINITE detail.

The first definition is mathematically the most satisfying, yet also the least illuminating.

Definition 2 is the most common. Fractals are self-similar. As in, if you zoom in on a section of the fractal, you will see a smaller copy if itself.

Definition 3 captures merely a fun property. It is a reductionist view of fractals in some sense? There is more to fractals than just that!

Yours is the Virtue

He’ll be lucky to have
A piece of your heart
A moment of your attention
A glimpse into the depth
Of your loving eyes.

He deserves not
the touch of your hands.
Or the attention that you
Shower upon his existence.
He deserves lesser than most.

And if he says not the words
That you so dearly desire
Or he forgets to think about you
Before catering to himself
Curse his selfish heart
But find no fault with thine own.

For your is the virtue of grace
And maturity with sophistication.
Yours is the nobleness and wisdom
So shy not from your worth
And barter not yourself short, even as
You accept him your humble lover.

Morning

And once again she leaves with no goodbye,
No words of farewell or kindly promises of return,
No morning wishes nor her gentle kisses,
Just a soft scent to remember her by.

Perhaps she whispered a few choice words,
While I was asleep dreaming of her by my side.
A love seeded into my ears, like light clouds on a summer sky.
Deepening the purple of my heart’s thundering cry.

Words are Wind

I love you.
It’s not a lot that I have to offer here
Just these three words
No comfort nor care
Not the relief of silent lies
Not even the promise of promises.
I have nothing to offer,
While seeing to demand so much
Nothing save those words
A bowl of emptiness
But a bowl of stone.
Hard it is to break,
Ideal for me untrustworthy honor.
A vessel you can carry
As a reminder of my poverty
A pauper of words this man
Beneath your consideration.
But accept his words,
They were spoken good and true,
And for whatever time you choose,
The words shall belong to you
As shall he.

Untitled poem

Darling dearest
Many things I wish to say
Many wishes I think to convey
Pining for you, pining for time
Hoping to reveal what’s in my mind
Long are the distances that have separated us
Long will be the nights needed to cover it
Long the distance within myself
From the person I’d want me to be
I want to tell you my resolutions
My silly planning
What comes to my mind
When I think of our future
But short are our calls
And poor my prose
Unholy my rhymes
Too cheesy a rose
Poetry I resist coz I think it unworthy
Of beauty thine indescribable
I would hate to bore you
With such limmerics assinine
Oh darling my darling
I cannot draw you my feelings
My drawing is better than my lines
But the lines I draw only serve to scare me
That I might just be repeating
What I once drew before
For a different person a long long time go
I want to draw you
Feel your skin under my fingers
Blur the boundaries of your frame
But I am thus crippled by history
And rendered kinda lame
You deserve more love
More songs more paintings
Consider this a start
Coz maybe it is long overdue
Maybe I lost me some good times already
But what is life worth if it is just
A mere reflection of my regrets
My what ifs and maybes
And next times and sorry
No my sweetheart
Not this time I won’t
I’ll give you much and more
No excuses no more.

Lament

I have a problem,
I am in trouble.
A gnawing fault,
ready to split under my feet,
ready to swallow me whole.

Should I be worried?
Is there a point?
Can faults be joint?
I can sit and cry,
lament my fate and decry,
this cruel cold world.
That I live on the surface
of a die, absolutely fair,
to everyone apart from me.
Should I curse?
Nay, what good would that do?

I refuse to sob today.
Perhaps it should have been,
that a few tears yesterday
were owed.
I should have grieved then,
when I first saw them signs,
of where this was headed,
a disaster in the making.
Should I have stopped then,
in my efforts to make amends,
and philosophized instead,
on the nature of things,
the futility of ambition,
and other drunken conversations?
Must I have stopped working,
halting progress, and preventing
today instead of causing it?
Nay I say, that too seems
a path doomed, a luxury,
afforded only in hindsight,
but not true to the soul,
of one that does not believe
in quitting prematurely.

Perhaps I should have,
paused the day before yesterday,
when I had but begun.
Nascent that the project was,
it was easier then perhaps,
to pity its meager existence
before it had become this
monster of giant import
I now face this day.
Before I had time to get,
attached to the possibilities,
and dream a future with it.
Isn’t caution the medicine
of wise men against suffering?

Nay says the voice of reason,
speaking through the depths
of time past and lost.
Nay it says, you cannot
always lament a thing’s demise
before it is even born.
This is no way to live a life,
this is no way to armor,
your heart in doubt and failure.

Perhaps I am thinking about this
in the wrong way.
When should I be worried?
Not now, that the disaster has occurred.
Not yesterday, when it could be
yet prevented.
Not certainly, the day before,
when the sky was still blue,
and the sun still beamed in my face,
blinding me to the oncoming storm.
Not tomorrow, when I shall be too
busy fixing the world,
and putting my pride back in place.
And not the day after when,
this problem would surely seem,
trivial before the new ones
I would have then acquired.

Ask yourself, dear reader.
Truly, when is the time?
To worry and fret and complain,
about all of your troubles.
Before, during, or after?
How is one to take time off,
to lift one’s head from work,
from the unending task of
improving oneself,
preparing for failure,
failing,
and improving some more?
How?
When?
Why, should one lament
the eternally lamentable?

What this is

This is not my life
This is not my dream
These are not my words
This is not me complaining

Things are not as expected
Expectations do not line up
Fairness is to be abandoned
Chance to be accepted

Embrace the chaos
This is not the time
To say, nor cry, nor whine
That this is not my life

More was needed
More was tried
More I got
But at more the cost

Fuck causality
Screw the universe
It won’t pause
While I contemplate my existence

This is not my place
This is not the dream
This is not my form
This is not the solution

Yet by my own hands
Is this false life built
How then to abandon?
This, mine integral part?

If not this, then what?
If not thus, then how?
Would that these lofty words
Solved my problems for me

Would that these burning wounds
Healed by mere ideas
Would that the hollow tasks
Filled life with meaning

But to idly hope is worse
Than to un-idly work
Day and night
Night and day

Amidst toil and sweat
Amidst the lack
Of freedom from chores
And fears and futures

Would that this freedom
Were mine to breathe
But willing does not make it so
And hence I go on

Living, breathing, eating
Working, toiling
Screw my realities!
I shall blow them sky high!

Unbidden Nostalgia

(an exercise in bad poetry… Part 2)

The unbidden nostalgia,
of unwelcome stories,
about events half forgotten,
listened to with a smile
forceful enough to hurt.

Brims to the surface,
from the marshes of my past,
the stench is from the rot,
from when I buried it there.

I’d mutilated these memories,
to make it easier to lie.
A twisted version of reality,
that I could live by.

To Lie in Anger

(an exercise in bad poetry… Part 1)

There was rage.

Hot, boiling, poisonous.

Anger that wanted destruction,
unimaginable ills to befall,
total, uncompromising fury,

Orange with fire,
blindingly bright.

But also dark.

Dark and ugly,
building beneath the surface,

‘Coz there was no vent.

Bound in silence it grew,
corroding my insides,
killing my life,
till it was almost easier,
to convince myself,
I wasn’t just angry about,
I was angry at.

But being angry at,
was a lie.

A lie I told myself,
to make peace with hate,
to channel my disgust,
out instead of in.

But lie that it was,
it returned to bite me,
eons later,
when I was unready.

The lie exposed,
my hate perished.

And try as I might it,
it still felt bad,
to hate at,
instead of about.

An Alternative to Non-Attachment

Non-attachment is preached as a solution to all of life’s problems by a number of people. Let it go. Put it behind you. Forget and it’ll get easier. Give it time.

But this advice, though well-meaning has always felt antiquated to me. This might have worked in an ancient time when the Buddha could preach about eliminating the root cause of suffering and being detached and holding no expectations from the world. But in today’s high-achieving, fast-paced culture of perform or perish, this recipe fails at being implementable and has just become something we tell each other.

How can one work without having aspirations? How can one assert themselves if they always let go when they really shouldn’t? How can one improve one’s life without being attached to it? How can one honestly preach detachment as the cure for heartbreak? While I do not wish to rule out the possibility that letting go might work for certain people in certain situations, to me personally the strategy rings hollow and impractical.

Is there an alternative to Let it Go? I submit that there is: Set it Down. I have tread on this path for the past year now and I can testify to its effectiveness; my shoes show lesser wear, the burden feels lighter and I have even learned to enjoy the journey at times.

So what does setting it down mean? Indulge me a few bullets to punch holes into the sorrows of existence:

  • This path acknowledges that everything in life has its proper place.
  • Your job is to assign things their place.
  • You are the one who gives meaning to the things, people and memories in your life. Use them as you will, when you will.
  • A beginning step in setting things down is to get organized.
  • Setting down tasks: Are there too many things you are supposed to be doing this week? Is the list giving you sleepless anxiety-ridden nights? Don’t let it go, set it down instead. Write these tasks on paper (or electronically), assign times and create schedules. It makes a huge difference!
  • Setting down thoughts: Thoughts that are weighing on your mind are a drain on your productivity. Set them down in a Journal, in a poem, in a drawing (or a blog post).
  • Setting down memories: It is good to remember what your worst failure felt like. Don’t try and erase that memory. Set it down. Revisit it when you need courage. Remember that that thing happened but you’re still here, still trying to be better. And that’s what matters.

The philosophy of setting it down is letting me make more out of life than I knew possible. It treats every event as a learning experience and allows you to put it aside to recall as needed. It does not discard; it does not discriminate. It lets you set down your burdens in a place of warmth and security, so you can carry on living.