It's not every day that someone walks into your office with a shoebox, and even more rare when that shoebox contains a potential future. Recently, Jules Ruijs surprised me with a shoebox full of 3D-printed fractal objects - beautiful tactile shapes reminiscent of nuts, shells, or corals, but nevertheless created with mathematical fractal formulas.

Fractal patterns repeat themselves at all levels, from tiny atoms in a cell to the level of an ecosystem or even the Milky Way. The contents of the shoebox offer a glimpse into a future where the fruits of our human ingenuity resonate with the world around us. No contrast or opposition between biology and technology, but a cross-pollination.

When I look out my window today and see the buildings around me, I see the result of 20th-century modernist thinking. Rationalistic, reductionist stacked blocks of glass, concrete, and steel. People experience this as anti-natural. That can, should, and will be better. Fractal design offers an alternative. It acknowledges that everything is connected to everything else. When the smaller parts flourish, the entire system flourishes, and vice versa. Fractal Flourishing in a shoebox.

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  • See also www.fractal.org

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