The Fractal Phenomenon

fractal_phenomenonChallenging situations (which are challenging because they're dynamically-complex adaptive systems) are driven by a single interaction-pattern that repeats at different levels throughout the entire situation.

Most of these patterns are invisible to us, until they're pointed out to us, because our society doesn't equip us to recognise repeating patterns very well.  It's more focused on teaching us how to recognise difference than similarity.

These patterns repeat at the micro-level as well as at the macro-level, which is why we gave the discovery the "fractal" name - fractals are patterns that repeat at all levels of magnification.

(In non-academic circles, The Fractal Phenomenon is known as The Repeating Pattern Phenomenon).

For example, we're taught - from an early age - to describe the difference between 2 and 3, but seldom, if ever, asked to descibe what's the same abount 2 & 3.  Our natural tendency is to analyse (make sense of things by breaking them apart) rather than to synthesise (make sense of things by fitting things together).  We need to use these two techniques in combination in order to see the patterns driving and constraining complex adaptive sysems.

It's very difficult to see these patterns when we first enter a challenging situation but, over time, we begin recognising them - or at least learning how to deal with them more effectively.  We call it experience - and think that it is merely knowing more stuff, but there's a deeper element of gaining more familiarity with the underlying patterns.

Unfortunately, because we seldom recognise the pattern cognitively at the conscious level, we seldom advance beyond getting better and better at the things we've done before.  The pattern becomes coded into our subconscious and we take advantage of it, without necessarily comprehending it.

Deliberately finding and understanding the repeating patterns in challenging situations provides us with ever-deeper insights and mastery.

Click here to find out how to find repeating interaction-patterns.

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