Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Catalytic Geometry

"Why is geometry often described as 'cold' and 'dry?' One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line... Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity." - Benoit MandelbrotThe Fractal Geometry of Nature

"Life emerged, I suggest, not simple, but complex and whole, and has remained complex and whole ever since—not because of a mysterious √©lan vital, but thanks to the simple, profound transformation of dead molecules into an organization by which each molecule's formation is catalyzed by some other molecule in the organization. The secret of life, the wellspring of reproduction, is not to be found in the beauty of Watson-Crick pairing, but in the achievement of collective catalytic closure. So, in another sense, life—complex, whole, emergent —is simple after all, a natural outgrowth of the world in which we live." - Stuart Kauffman, At Home in the Universe

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