Sunday, September 19, 2021

Finding the Beauty in Chaos

A new beginning that looks an awful lot like the old one.

When I set out to explore fractal art, I face a confusing array of controls & parameters. It has taken me years to develop the eye to select the best cropping, the most flattering palette, and the most interesting settings, then present them in a pleasing manner. Without this discipline, the fractal is an utter mess with no focus. By making a few poorly chosen decisions, the same mathematical location and the same color palette can appear completely different—and far less appealing.

Of course, anybody with the time and desire to learn the software can produce pleasing images. It isn’t as if I received a PhD in advance fractal art, traveling to distant lands to study with the Mandelbrot masters before writing my doctoral thesis on the societal implications of sliders versus number fields and how they subvert the patriarchy.

However, as I was exploring a particular fractal set the other day,—tweaking the parameters to get something beautiful to leap out of the screen—I had an interesting thought that caused me to stop and ponder:

I wish my life was as easy to organize as these fractals are.

There is too much chaos to detail here, but suffice it to say that my life is more like the bottom image with its cacophony of line and color, overwhelmed with indiscernible patterns. It feels like absolute and total chaos, and I’m not pleased about it one single pixel.

I sat there wondering what my slider controls were. What could I tweak to bring my life back into focus? Was it as simple as choosing a new palette, in other words, changing the scenery? How could I pacify the waves of chaos that seemed to be carrying me far from my goals? Oh, I self-pontificated grandly, assigning various aspects of my life as metaphorical tools in my fractal art program. After a few minutes of that, though, I realized it was all a bit silly. There is no “frequency” dial in my life to reduce the amount of chaos.

But if there could be such a dial, what would it look like? How would I use it? Would I want to?

Since the pandemic, my family life has become complicated. I don’t write as much as I’d like. I don’t draw or play instruments anymore. It seems that I am entirely preoccupied dealing with my disabilities as well as those of my daughter. I must admit that I am thoroughly depressed, my ADHD is not being managed well, and my Tourette’s is running my life. Although I am not lying down, playing the victim, I am so busy surviving that I am giving no consideration to thriving.

Instead of being knocked around by life, I want to choose the direction. Recording my thoughts on social media has long lost its charm. I want to thrive. It’s not enough to tread water. We only tire ourselves out that way. Instead, we need a clear direction to head in.

Since I’m still living out in the fractal weeds, so to speak, that clear direction that I want in my life is obscured by chaos. I’ve decided to record my thoughts as I work through the process. ocial media has lost much of its appeal for me, yet blogging has also lost its appeal. I began to worry too much about each article being quotable, SEO-optimized, and shared. So I’ve begun a new journal instead, then post the pages here. I’ll try to get back to my roots to when I began blogging, offering more personal observations.

I will discuss my process more, working through my ADHD, depression, Tourette’s, and family life as obstacles. It’ll be more like my old Writing in a Fishbowl series, but I will try to be less colloquial and more beautiful in the way that I write. Finding beauty in chaos starts with me. I need to highlight the good in my life and emphasize my progress.

I hope you won’t mind coming along for the ride. There are some beautiful sights to behold. They may have even been right in front of my face, but I missed them because I was focused on the chaos instead.



Date: September 19, 2021 at 12:30:54 PM MDT
Weather: 76°F Sunny
Location: Sandy, Utah, United States