Polynomial, originally consisting of two friends, is currently just one person… Karl Richard. He is a futurist, plane warping, mind altering, tree hugging hippie who’s not so hip he has trouble seeing over his own pelvis. He resides with his feet firmly on the earth and his head in the clouds. Yet he’s still aware of the spaces in between and the beauties beyond. Some say he’s searching for an illusive “something”. But all he really does is look at the same things from all the infinite perspectives that the human condition affords him.
As for ever getting bored here on Earth… He reckons that there is simply too much to hear, see, do and think about to become bored. And, as if to provide a tonic to anyone’s own self imposed ennui, he wants us all to remember what we seem to so readily forget in the daily melodrama of human life… Namely how fortunate and improbable it is that we are all alive and here today.
“If all life is simply comprised of chemicals that are made up of various atoms, which were born from the hearts of stars… Then consciousness is purely just a by product of the chemical reactions between the different components of star dust in our bodies… I do not possess a soul. Rather I am a soul, forged in the hearts of stars, burning brightly in all I do, experiencing only the Here and Now, witnessing the birth of future generations in the vast furnaces of the heavens above.”
Reading the above, one can clearly see he is very interested in blending the mystical with the empirical… After many years of studying Taoism, Buddhism, and other Eastern philosophies, he was introduced to the then arcane scientific fields of Chaos Theory and Fractal Geometry by a good friend, Emily Mander. Em, having sent him some postcards of the M-Set, simply and rather elegantly wrote, “Check these out… They will open your mind!” And once Karl saw them, he couldn’t help but ‘pour’ night and day over their detailed splendor, enthusing about a strange and alluring familiarity that drew him ever deeper into their warty folds… For this was a familiarity that reminded him of many things all at once.
No doubt, this experience invoked in him a life long quest to better understand Fractal geometry. And after many years of trying to quench an insatiable appetite for these smooth/rough undulating, infinitely detailed forms, he began to sense that they were having a profound effect on his psyche… Basically, he started to notice that the boundaries of differentiation that he had been taught at school and University were slowly dissolving away, yielding to a highly detailed and interconnected view of all things. And it was from this view that he glanced some very striking similarities between Old and New schools of philosophical and religious thought; similarities that strongly hinted at a Fractal universe unfolding around us… A Universe in which ideas and forms fluttered back and forth over an infinitely fine line that separated self-similarity from exact replicas. “After all, evolution is nothing more than the development of form and function via minor and steady modifications to the original structure…much in the way a fractal unfolds as one zooms into its boundaries, seeing a cascade of shapes resembling the whole, all of which have undergone iteration into subtly different analogies of its totality…” Following this realization, and as if to honor this all-pervading law of Universal flow, he began to glean many an analogy from Life’s seemingly multifarious and unrelated modes of being, and so started to tie together a grand vision of the Whole with a fusion of ideas that stem from both ancient and modern disciplines.
But perhaps most importantly, through this steady cogitation of Old and New ideals, he has developed a keen and deeply intuitive ‘feeling’ about the workings of, and possible implications for, Chaos theory and the Mandelbrot Set in all worldly pursuits/activities. For it is with this ‘feeling’ he hopes to inspire new ideas about the way in which our Universe functions, and so allow mankind to develop a better understanding about Life’s processes as a Whole. This, coupled with a strong desire to suggest this underlying essence of Universal flow to others, has led him to crafting sonic compositions based on iterative, non repeating, self similar patterns, centered on polynomial functions that operate and play out through a collection of carefully made algorithmic tools, all built within the unique synthesis programs of Max/MSP and Kyma.
“Mathematically, the Mandelbrot set can be defined as the set of complex values of c for which the orbit of 0 under iteration of the complex quadratic polynomial zn+1 = zn2 + c remains bounded. That is, a complex number, c, is in the Mandelbrot set if, when starting with z0=0 and applying the iteration repeatedly, the absolute value of zn never exceeds a certain number (that number depends on c) however large n gets.”
As he says, “From time immemorial, man has desired to comprehend the complexity of nature in as few elementary concepts as possible. And having forged the new scientific disciplines of Chaos and Fractal geometry, We have been able to transmute some of the complexity that We witness around us into a simple yet ominpotent ideas that give us the chance to glimpse at the underlying order that lies behind an ancient principle, that of Chaos, which was once perceived to bear only total disorder and pandemonium. And in today’s modes of understanding, the computer has truly become mightier than the pen… For it allows man to study the central ‘ideal’ underlying our Chaotic design in a ‘manageable’, if somewhat over-simplified, way, just as Euclid’s perfectly flat plane once allowed scholars to study the basic geometry and ‘ideals’ lying behind all shapes.
“But, as mankind all too readily discovers time and again, ‘reality’ is obviously much, much, much more complex than these ‘ideals’ could ever truly demonstrate… So these ‘romantic’ tools are simply the toys with which we infants play, allowing us to kindle the flames of a Knowing that will ultimately arouse and illuminate new and previously unseen concepts; concepts which lie hidden deep within the Universal Whole. For just as a child plays with models of cars and dolls, simulating adult behavior, until one day they realize and become what they have imitated for so long… So too Life will begin to sufficiently understand the fathomless flow of the Tao, so that we can one day release ourselves into the ever evolving currents of creation, and drift along its majesty, free from the infantile callowness that our cradle, planet Earth, has let us hang on to for so long…
“For, in order to properly connect with the truth of Ourselves, Chaos and the Tao, one must wash away the ‘seemingly’ rational mind that we have all been taught to think with, and begin to ‘swim’ freely through Life’s patterns, being open and receptive to all the subtleties and complexities, both within and without. The more I ‘swim’, the more I realize that… Simplicity does not precede complexity, but rather follows it. Thus the art of simplicity is distilled from a puzzle of complexity… And with all of the studies and knowledge being gathered and complied here on Earth in this golden age of communication, we can start to properly piece together parts of the jigsaw, gaining a better glimpse of the ‘whole picture’ with each new piece added.
“Perhaps one day, when we are mature, knowledgeable and daring enough, we may even stand back, and See with all our being, the Totality of the interconnecting patterns that lead between all the energies of Universal and Earthly being… And in doing so, we might then see that evident self-similar flow that allows evolving forms to move ever onwards into new functional designs of future relevance and refinement. For, while clarity is no doubt a never ending struggle for us currently (we all too often succumb to the illusory knowings of human social conditioning and bodily design), I feel this knowledge will guide us closer towards what we need to understand about ourselves in order that we may transcend our current disjointed ways of life… For once we comprehend the basic precepts of our Universal discourse i.e. that everything is connected in a long sequence of events (stretching both behind and before us), we will then be able to guide our actions and forge new perceptive views that will precipitate ever more relevant and atuned acts, to live in near-enough total harmony within nature’s delicate balance, which in turn will allow us to muster ever greater courage to continue to live on in hope in this sparse inky black void of space and time, marveling at the creation unfolding around us. After all, we are simply but a part of the Universe bestowed with an amazing gift of being able to perceive and understand itself… Even if only fleetingly… And just one part at a time. But with this diamond of realization, perhaps we might revel in a more complete understanding of what we truly are, and so let go of war, hate, greed and negative cycles of being… and come together to share an ever expanding and more diverse view of the Whole, where nothing is truly wrong, separate, fearful or broken… Rather it is simply just another perspective.
“Somewhere in all this, as if to venerate the age old dichotomy that simplicity and complexity are one and the same, I believe the Mandelbrot set will show us a better way forward i.e. open up analogies that will allow us to distill and unlock a ‘deeper knowledge’ of who and what we truly are… A knowledge that will ultimately allow us to understand the infinite within and without, and so clasp our true potential to live in peace with a deep pervading ecological harmony that might sustain us here on Earth and within this treacherous Universe. So perhaps after all, the M set might just be that elusive fingerprint that many have been searching for… Is it purely a coincidence that the Mandala of Eastern Buddhist thought bears such a deep resemblance to the Mandelbrot set, both in name and shape? A fingerprint that the Universe left behind when it finished piecing together its own creation… The essence of what the Buddha intuitively understood about all things… ?”
For Karl’s main staple here on earth, he is bounded by a sense of obligation to live cleanly and in balance with his needs and the surrounding environment, growing most of what he eats himself, and all in season… For cash, he is a part time gardener, helping keep people’s gardens in good order… And for the rest of the time he either writes here in this blog, or indulges his passion for the sonic arts by running a Sound Design Studio/Sound Research Facility in the South East of the UK, called “the Orange Hut studio”. And he warns… “The name has nothing to do with a major mobile telephone service provider here in the UK. Rather it denotes the idea of purity, knowing and the impossible within the possible, as symbolized by the color orange in the Buddhist traditions…” At the Orange Hut studio he melds together tonal tapestries with rhythmic patterns to explore ideas rooted deep within Chaos and fluid dynamics, to produce works that have never been heard before, one’s that continually ride on the idea of evolution of the form. Here… At the Orange Hut studio, the only limits known to creativity are dictated by one’s imagination…
To follow Karl on his journey into Chaos, Understanding and everyday life, please visit the following sites:
And if you like what you see/hear/sense, then please remember to stop off at the following site and pay your respects to the other “late” half of Polynomial, Matthew Daughton:
“The flame that burns twice as bright, burns for half as long…”
Please Note: Karl Richard operates this blog with the sole intention of providing a collection of pertinent ideas that may allow anyone reading them to gain a deeper insight into the big questions concerning Life, the Universe and everything… so that they can figure out what we, as human beings, really are.
Here he groups together a carefully selected swathe of scientific articles, lashed together with his own musings, as well as some Taoist notions, to demonstrate to the reader exactly what they, as a person, are, how they came to be here, and how they really function. All these carefully choosen articles have a pertinent thread running through their core ideas… And it is this thread that is important. For it is based on empirical facts and evidence centered on scientific data that has been gathered by eminent scientists the world over… And as it is empirical in nature, this data can be reproduced anywhere in the world, and hopefully, with sound logical reasoning, the same conclusions can be drawn. Once this thread is grasped, then one can begin to see past the myths of what we thought we were, and start to function better in a clearer Knowing of what we really are, and where (or what processes) we come from. For once the patterns have been seen, then we can truly decide/choose where we must go from here/the present.
BE IT KNOWN!!! No profits are being made directly or indirectly from this website. Most of the articles are writen by other people who are clearly cited as the authors, along with their relevant publications/publishers/periodicals/etc…
However… If you feel that Karl has left anything important out, should be set straight on a particular issue, or even breached copyright in any way, please do contact him here. He’s only too happy to hear back from his readers and/or help rectify any issues that anyone might have regarding this blog… Thanks for taking the time to read this!