Connecting Inner Power with Global Change: The Fractal Ladder


Pravir Malik

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    This book is dedicated to those heroes through all time who through the exercise of inner power have brought about global change

    List of Figures

    • 2.1 Architecture of a Person 19
    • 3.1 Architecture of a Business 36
    • 3.2 Logic for Integration 42
    • 3.3 Fractal Model Causal Link 46
    • 4.1 The Global Economy Fractal 54
    • 4.2 Increasing Degrees of Freedom 59
    • 4.3 The Multiplier Effect 63
    • 5.1 The Digital Economy Fractal 68
    • 5.2 The Energy Industry Fractal 71
    • 5.3 The Global Politics Fractal 73
    • 5.4 The Exchange Rate Fractal 74
    • 5.5 The Physics Fractal 75
    • 5.6 The Biomimicry Fractal 77
    • 5.7 The Organizational Design Fractal 79
    • 5.8 The Progress Fractal 80
    • 6.1 The Physical Phase of the Evolution Fractal 85
    • 6.2 The Vital Phase of the Evolution Fractal 87
    • 6.3 The Mental Phase of the Evolution Fractal 89
    • 6.4 The Internet Soft-voice Fractal 96
    • 7.1 The Fractal Ladder 108
    • 8.1 Fractal Properties 129
    • 9.1 Physical-state Relationships 135
    • 9.2 Vital-state Relationships 136
    • 9.3 Mental-state Relationships 137
    • 9.4 Coexistence of the Qualities of Progress 140
    • 9.5 Architecture of the Fractal Ladder 143
    • 9.6 AUM and the Fractal Ladder 147
    • 10.1 The Consumerism Fractal 150
    • 10.2 The Necessity of a Wake-up Call 152
    • 10.3 The Play of Uniqueness 161
    • 11.1 Contrast in Leadership Type 168
    • 11.2 Development of Holistic Leadership 171
    • 11.3 Double-action of Motive Forces 174
    • 11.4 The Repertoire of the Fractal Ladder Leader 179
    • 12.1 Potential Scenarios 197
    • 13.1 The Exchange Fractal 205
    • 13.2 Perspectives on Money 209


    Through the last two decades I have read a magnificent poem by Sri Aurobindo titled Savitri, several times. In the first book of this poem, “The Book of Beginnings,” a great yogi, Aswapati, overcomes all terrestrial and cosmic bonds after which, being free, he is able to travel anywhere in creation. The second book “The Book of the Traveler of the Worlds,” describes Aswapati's travels, which begins with his perceiving “The World Stair.” This particular canto had a deep impact on me. I do not know for sure what the author intends with that canto, but my interpretation of it created a seed with which I began to view many different events around me, and which has resulted in this book. Following are the lines from this canto:

    … Amid the many systems of the One

    Made by an interpreting creative joy

    Alone it points us to our journey back

    Out of our long self-loss in Nature's deeps;

    Planted on earth it holds in it all realms:

    It is a brief compendium of the Vast.

    This was the single stair to being's goal.

    A summary of the stages of the spirit,

    Its copy of the cosmic hierarchies

    Refashioned in our secret air of self

    A subtle pattern of the universe.

    It is within, below, without, above.

    Acting upon this visible Nature's scheme

    It wakens our earth-matter's heavy doze

    To think and feel and to react to joy;

    It models in us our diviner parts,

    Lifts mortal mind into a greater air,

    Makes yearn this life of flesh to intangible aims,

    Links the body's death with immortality's call:

    Out of the swoon of the Inconscience

    It labours towards a superconscient Light.

    If earth were all and this were not in her,

    Thought could not be nor life-delight's response:

    Only material forms could then be her guests

    Driven by an inanimate world-force.

    Earth by this golden superfluity

    Bore thinking man and more than man shall bear;

    This higher scheme of being is our cause

    And holds the key to our ascending fate;

    It calls out of our dense mortality

    The conscious spirit nursed in Matter's house.

    The living symbol of these conscious planes,

    Its influences and godheads of the unseen,

    Its unthought logic of Reality's acts

    Arisen from the unspoken truth in things,

    Have fixed our inner life's slow-scaled degrees.

    Its steps are paces of the soul's return

    From the deep adventure of material birth,

    A ladder of delivering ascent

    And rungs that Nature climbs to deity…(Sri Aurobindo 1950–51)

    Particularly the lines “… A subtle pattern of the universe. It is within, below, without, above …” meant to me that being within, below, without, above, is in effect being everywhere, and perforce on different scale, it could be interpreted as being a fractal. In this interpretation, the fractal consists of physical worlds, vital worlds, and mental worlds stacked one on top of the other, and form part of the blueprint for all existence. While this canto has been written from a Seer's perspective and therefore perhaps cannot even rightly be clearly understood unless one enters into the consciousness of the Seer, this book, by contrast, has been constructed primarily through observation and logic, using reason, applied across time. Hence, the book represents a very different perspective to try to arrive at, through logic, what is evident to a Seer.

    “The World Stair” and other cantos in Savitri have been the central inspiration for this book, and I remain ever grateful to the poet.

    Other life experiences, particularly in working as a consultant to many global corporations has provided insight into business operations and to the self-imposed shackles of mediocrity that bind so many of us to a life of compromise. In particular, through my work at ZS Associates, Ernst & Young, EDS, A.T. Kearney, The Concours Group, Conner Partners, and Business for Social Responsibility, each of which has a different value proposition and quite different operating cultures, I have been able to intersect with large businesses on different fronts and in different ways. To these set of life-experiences and to the consulting organizations that allowed me to experience these, I remain thankful.

    There have also been several individuals who knowingly through direct help or unknowingly through extremely confrontational relationships have helped me to learn a lot about my self. To the hand of Progress behind both these groups of people, and to these people themselves, I remain thankful.

    There are also several groups of people who have helped make this book a reality. First, I mention a colleague, Professor Sanjay Mukherjee, at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, who, through the years, has readily accepted several articles that I have written on this subject in the Journal of Human Values of which he is the Editor, and who introduced me to Dr Sugata Ghosh, Vice President, Commissioning, SAGE Publications. From the start Dr Ghosh has offered me great support and encouragement for this book. Reema Singhal, Assistant Commissioning Editor at SAGE, had been given the unenviable task of helping make the initial manuscript far easier to read, and her very useful suggestions through the course of the last few months have been instrumental in this regard. Pranab Sarma, Assistant Production Editor, has been given the responsibility of bringing this book into production. Many others from SAGE have helped behind the scenes. This book would not be possible without their help.

    Some others have helped through the years with making the overall idea more real. Jugal Kishore Mukherjee, the Head of Knowledge, the undergraduate arm at Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education, where I taught a three-year Flowering of Management course, one day mentioned to me in passing that what I was attempting to do was very difficult—to build a meta-theory about organization. I had never thought of the work with fractals and organizations in that manner, but once he mentioned it, I felt a pressure to do just that. While I had many students at Knowledge, I mention three in particular, Devdip Ganguly, Parashmani Chandra, and Sukrit Dhandhania, whose curiosity and enthusiasm always pushed me to discover more on the overall subject. At about the same time, I also approached Parimala, Editor at Hindu Business Line, with a proposal to write a series of articles relating fractals with organizations. She liked the idea, and with her help and suggestions to alter the writing style for a business audience, a series of seven articles appeared in Hindu Business Line within a year. This too gave the work quite a boost.

    I also mention R.Y. Deshpande, who is well versed in the works of Sri Aurobindo, and has through the years been a mentor to me in my endeavor to understand more of Sri Aurobindo's works. He and another friend of mine, Debashish Banerjee, have reviewed some of the materials in this book and provided useful suggestions that have helped refine this book. Daryl Conner, another mentor, and Chairman of Conner Partners, a strategy execution consulting company, provided me with guidance on writing a book, based on his own personal experience of writing several books. Last but not the least, I am thankful for the support of Chitvan, my wife, and my two sons, Chaitanya and Aditya, who remained remarkably quiet every Saturday when I would sit down to write this book.

    Connecting Inner Power with Global Change: The Fractal Ladder is my third book. As I look back on the contents of the previous two books, I realize how much my thought has changed over the years. Yet at that time those books seemed to represent a summit of personal thought and from my small perspective, timeless. My hope is that years from now, I will come back to this book with the same realization, for then I know that I will not have been seized by stagnation however alluring, and will truly have become a disciple of Progress in my own adventuring through the fractal journeys that define my life now.

    To this constant and promising march of Progress I remain ever grateful.


    The power to change things lies within us. Presented here is a theory on how shifts in oneself can have profound shifts in corporations, markets, systems, and the world. It has been said: “Become the change you wish to see in the World.” But the elaboration of how this is true may remain a mystery. The theory of organization introduced here indicates a fractal reality in which an idea, a person, a team, a corporation, a market, a system, progressively more complex constructs, are concretely connected by virtue of common and linked patterns that animates each of these separate levels. Hence, the power to positively change progressively more complex and, in many cases, removed arenas of life, such as climate change, by making corresponding changes in one's personal space, becomes more real.

    Such a relationship connecting the micro to the macro has thus far been applied only in the physical realm. Benoît Mandelbrot and others have studied how Nature employs fractal patterns to build complex structures. The fractal theory introduced here indicates how far more complex constructs—such as persons, corporations, markets, countries—comprising significant behavioral components, can similarly be holistically perceived and correspondingly shifted. As a result, a more effective shaping power is put in the hands of those who are able to live the theory.

    On many different fronts the world is beginning to experience accelerated crises. Recent times have borne witness to the increasing global financial crises which continues to grow in scope everyday. Not only are more economies pronouncing recessions and tottering on the verge of depression, not only are an increasing number of companies and even diverse financial institutions declaring bankruptcy, but more so, people are continuing to be affirmed and reaffirmed as mere assets or liabilities to be dealt with accordingly. The threat of climate change, increasing resource shortages, and now food security is continuing to grow in intensity. Destruction of natural capital continues at a fiendish pace through inadvertent or even advertent destruction of species, transportation of species from one region of the world to others not suited for such implantation, and release of a constant stream of toxins from an increasing number of sources. As a human species we have often forgotten our routes to freedom and stand enslaved at multiple levels by a formidable global machinery that promises utopia at every step, but, in reality, is set on a path towards its own destruction. One may look at these and other current crises as disconnected. To do so, however, is part of the problem.

    This book posits a single system that connects different organizational entities together in a fractal structure. The term “organization” refers to an idea, a habit, a person, a corporation, a collectivity, a country, and even planet earth, amongst other possible entities whose structure, processes, and meaning is defined by architectures comprised of similar building-blocks. An underlying dynamic of this system is posited to be its fractal reality, that is, the ability of an organization to replicate its raison d'être and way of being not only at its own level of operation, but also through influence, on a different scale. Myriad fractal effects emanating from many different sources create a general fractal vortex. This vortex often blinds organizations to high ideals and liberating possibilities, and binds them to habits and norms of yesterday. Within this fractal vortex, however, there exists a remarkable ladder, the Fractal Ladder, a special zone that releases and connects inner power to global change. This Fractal Ladder is constructed by a common fractal for progress that animates each of its rungs. It is at once a mechanism by which the system can progress meaningfully, and acts as a doorway into the heart of the system which is seen as purposeful, conscious, and progressive. The heart of the system manifests itself in building-blocks and organizations. When these organizations embark on a particular fractal journey, the one that spells progress on each rung of the ladder, they can progressively uncover and embody more of the truth of which they are in the final analyses-evolving projections.

    Stepping onto this Fractal Ladder is the secret of bringing about meaningful and sustainable global change. The ensuing change is not so much a result of personal effort, though this is certainly indispensable, and the means by which an organization steps onto the Fractal Ladder, but more so because on the Fractal Ladder, the progressive dynamics that lie at the heart of the containing system begin to find expression in better prepared organizations more easily and hence magnify. Deep motive forces that have the power to bring to surface true identity are then released, and organizations begin to develop along a more stable multidimensional foundation as opposed to the current travesty of a one-dimensional foundation.

    When linearity and simple cause–effect models are the dictionaries by which we ascribe meaning and purpose to our lives, the inaccuracy and resulting action in that view cannot but cause us to encounter formidable obstacles at every step of the way. These then manifest as the many larger-than-life problems that we are faced with today. When we are able to embrace the Fractal Ladder-based systems-view of reality, however, we not only give way to, but also begin to enter into relationship with a more conscious and comprehensive cause–effect reality that necessarily works a greater degree of magic in our lives.

    The first half of the book examines dynamics at various levels of organization to extrapolate the existence of a Fractal Ladder which is positioned to be the signature of a progressive, conscious, and fully integrated world-system. Chapter 1 introduces the basic building-blocks of organizations and the pattern that is the basis of the ubiquitous fractal at the base of the Fractal Ladder. Chapter 2 examines the same building-blocks and pattern as it manifests at the level of the person. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 examine the building-blocks and pattern as it manifests at the levels of the business, the economy, and in many system instances, respectively. Each of these chapters explores varied creations that manifest depending on how the building-blocks are combined with one another. There is only one particular combination of the building-blocks, however, that results in progressive and sustainable organizations, and this is posited to be the base-pattern or seed-fractal representative of the Fractal Ladder. Chapter 6 takes a step beyond all human-based creations to examine the very canvas of nature to similarly establish the fact if the base-pattern of the ubiquitous fractal exists there. Chapter 7 takes a step back from the various fields of observation to illustrate the presence of a fantastic ubiquitous fractal—the Fractal Ladder—that in effect links together the similar pattern of progress across the different scales of reality. Further, the Fractal Ladder is posited as part of the signature of a conscious design or implicit aspiration behind things.

    The second half of the book begins to explore the different properties, dynamics, and implications of operating in such an integrated, Fractal Ladder-based world-system. In other words, it begins to construct and ascribe alternative meaning and purpose to action and behavior. Such a reconstruction is critical to successful operation in a world that in reality is vastly different from what we imagine. Learning the strokes that allow us to effectively move through this very different medium causes us to remain afloat and even thrive, rather than gasp for breath and sink, as we seem to be doing. Chapter 8, hence, examines many properties in this single world-system. These are positioned as tools and devices by which to begin to maneuver through this very different world. Examination of the Fractal Ladder and related properties begins to reveal the existence of a conscious entity, Progress, which is hypothesized as being the context for the world-system. Chapter 9 takes a deeper dive into the nature of Progress, the heart of the world-system, to further understand how it interacts with and even shapes the Fractal Ladder. Armed now with a clearer understanding of the world-system, the subsequent chapters begin to explore the implications of this new knowledge. Chapter 10, thus, explores what the business and corporation may become as life on the Fractal Ladder continues to progress. The possibility of enlightened reconstruction of basic and pervasive institutions, such as business, that define our modern world depends on the nature of exercised leadership in the scheme of things. Chapter 11 seeks to examine the criticality and nature of such leadership in the future scheme of things. Chapter 12 takes a look at the range of possible futures that may manifest depending on which fundamental building-block or part of the ubiquitous pattern becomes active in the consciousness of people. Chapter 13 examines the transformation that needs to take place in many popular institutions for the best possible future to emerge.

    This book puts forward nothing less than a sea-change in the definition and dynamics of many common components of our lives. Our notion of self, world, leadership, progress, money, business, society, and myriad other institutions needs to be turned on its head, not out of any frivolity, but based on more penetrating observations of progress and stagnation that animate many practical aspects of our lives. The contradictions that abound in our life arise because there is a huge disconnect between the common meanings and purposes we ascribe to key components of our life and the meaning and purpose that the truth of our reality demands. The fractal system presented here is an attempt to mirror that truth of our reality more fully.

    The approach to achieving effective change naturally changes. Usually the approach to bringing about change is restricted to one or the other level. There are frameworks that deal with making personal changes. There are frameworks that deal with making organizational change. There are frameworks that deal with making market or system changes. These no doubt have their place and utility in the scheme of things, and will assist various organizations to complete their respective fractal journeys as we will discover in this book. The demand placed before us by world circumstances themselves, however, cannot be addressed by such piecemeal and disconnected approaches any longer. The time has come for a radical reconstruction of the notion of drivers, motive forces, causality, and the very map and way of change. This alternative approach to change that integrates the micro with the macro, that gets into deeper subjective drivers and their objective effects, that considers all events, ideas, circumstances, not to mention people, teams, corporations, collectivities, countries—instances of organization—as being constructed and, therefore, even reconstructed by common building blocks, in effect an approach that connects inner power with global change, is what is presented here.

    Many new postulates for change emerge in this book. These include the following notions:

    • There are common building-blocks that animate each level of organization.
    • Organization refers to an idea, a theory, a habit, an event, a circumstance, a person, a team, a corporation, a collectivity, a market, an economy, our world; basically anything whose structure, processes, meaning is defined by the common building-blocks.
    • Dynamics of a particular organization are entirely determined by which of these building-blocks are active at that level of organization.
    • Like DNA, the stringing together of building-blocks in a particular sequence or with particular dominance, determines the active dynamics of that level of organization.
    • There is only one particular sequence of stringing together building-blocks that allows an organization to progress sustainably
    • This particular sequence exists in all progressive organizations, regardless of the level of complexity and forms the seed-pattern of which the Fractal Ladder is the fractal.
    • When organizations embrace sequences other than that of the progressive fractal, they become a part of a general fractal vortex that animates ordinary or “as-usual” as opposed to progressive life.
    • All sequences tend to repeat their raison d'être and way of being not only at their own levels, but by influence at other levels also. This is what reinforces fractal reality.
    • When a fractal for progress inevitably encounters forces or contrary fractals, a rite of passage is created by which deeper identity can emerge.
    • The Fractal Ladder is a zone of possibility that causes the world-system to progress in the most sustainable way possible.
    • The Fractal Ladder is the signature of a progressive, conscious, and fully integrated world-system.
    • The existence of the fractal of progress, regardless of the level of organizational complexity and formidable opposition by forces to the contrary, implies its reality or even an essential and pervasive reality of power, presence, knowledge, and love.
    • An opening to this essential reality of power, presence, knowledge, and love is perhaps the most effective way for an organization to complete its own fractal journey of progress.
    • The existence of a Fractal Ladder and a personified Progress sets the stage for a vastly different set of dynamics with which one brings about change in organizations.

    On many different fronts we are today at a boundary condition. The journey between one phase or building-block of the ubiquitous fractal and the next must be completed for the increasing contradictions and general debilitation along many different fronts, symptoms of a bygone way of being, to decline. Just as in the case of addressing climate change, the window for making this transition is time-bound and those organizations that are able to make this journey demanded of them now, are the ones that will emerge as leaders of our collective future.

    Chapter Outline

    Chapter 1—The Pattern: An introduction to the building-blocks and the pattern that is the basis of the “ubiquitous fractal.”

    Key Concepts: Dichotomies of life | Life as a vast, interconnected system | Problems caused by lack of systems view | The fractal nature of the system | Why problems can persist | Efforts required to alter the base-pattern | Pattern should be self-evident and pervasive | Beyond geography and history: earth–sun dance | Phases of a day | Physical | Vital | Mental | DNA of the earth | Building-blocks | Formation of kernel | Nature of kernels | Isolated development of kernels | The base or ubiquitous pattern | Complete journey and emergence of identity | Incomplete journey | Triplicity and its bias | Fractal opposition | Rite of passage | Mentality and identity | Evolution of the earth.

    Chapter 2—The Person Pattern: A look at the building-blocks and pattern as it manifests at the level of the person.

    Key Concepts: Application of fractal architecture in definition of a person | Kernel reality through fractal pressure | Creation of tendencies | Perpetuating the nature of the world | Countering of world's natural commerce with its creatures | Progression through sun-marked fractal and identity | Tendency versus identity | Tendency fractal contrary to ubiquitous fractal | Progressive organization and mentality | Importance of questioning | Uniqueness working itself out through play of tendencies | Living one's uniqueness | Life pattern and Maslow's psychology | Expression of earth through physical, vital, mental masks | Earth becoming an earth–sun | Uniqueness as a creative force.

    Chapter 3—The Business Pattern: A look at the building-blocks and pattern as it manifests in business.

    Key Concepts: Application of fractal architecture in definition of business | Three types of assets in physical orientation | Three types of flows in vital orientation | Three types of outlooks in mental orientation | Physically-led organization | Vitally-led organization | Mentally-led organization | Combinations and governance | Kernels or seed-states and fractal pressure | Alignment of kernels with sun-marked physical–vital–mental fractal | Opportunities for “rite of passage” multiplied | Stepping into a particular kernel at will | Fractal link between personal and business levels | Relationship of identity with sun-like properties | Stringing of states and milieu of progress | Strengths and shortcomings of physical, vital, mental orientations | Business logic of integrating three orientations | Automaticity of sun-marked physical–vital–mental fractal at business level | Shift in feeling and thought orientations in bringing about change | Validation of fractal model.

    Chapter 4—The Economy Pattern: A look at how this pattern has almost as if automatically appeared at the level of the economy, and how certain parts of the pattern are associated with higher degrees of freedom.

    Key Concepts: Bottom-up fractal analysis | Top-down fractal analysis | Global economy fractal | Multiplication of mediocrity | Agriculture and physical phase | Industrial economy and vital phase | Digital economy and mental phase | Automaticity of traversing physical, vital, and mental phases | DNA of life and sun-marked physical–vital–mental fractal | Assessment of progress from physical, vital, and mental points of view | Fractal within a fractal | Approaching limits of the vital phase | Global indicators of a breakdown | Birth of the corporation and fractal pressure | Corporation as a quintessential vital animal | Necessity of completion of sun-marked physical–vital–mental journey for corporation | Sub-phase within a phase | Rite of passage at the economy level | Degrees of freedom | Primary actors of a phase | The vital milieu | Pushing instant gratification to its limits | DNA of life and push to transcend limits | Kernels of chief actors | Tendencies and fractal pressure | Aura of impersonality | Difficulty of change at impersonal levels of organization | Encountering and surpassing demons of creation | Global economy fractal as expression of individual way of being | Key to global economy shift lies in shift at the individual level.

    Chapter 5—The System Pattern: A look at how this pattern has spontaneously emerged across several different disciplines—physics, management thought, biotechnology, amongst others.

    Key Concepts: Mental sub-phase of vital phase of global economy | Digital economy fractal | Brochure-ware and the physical-phase | e-Commerce and the vital phase | Re-conceptualization and the mental phase | Increase in degrees of freedom | Energy industry fractal | Oil and gas extraction and physical phase | Maximizing energy flow and vital phase | Alternative energy and mental phase | Global politics fractal | Fractal within a fractal | World War I and II and physical phase | Cold War and vital phase | Globalization and mental phase | Exchange rate fractal | Gold standard and physical phase | Balance of power and vital phase | Real-time creativity and mental phase | Science-based systems of thought | Physics fractal | Atomic view and physical phase | Quantum view and vital phase | Unifying theme and mental phase | Biomimicry fractal | Form and function and physical phase | Imitation of process and vital phase | Whole systems view and mental phase | Organizational design fractal | Silo-mentality and physical phase | Process view and vital phase | Raison d'être and mental phase | Fractal for progress | Element-focus and physical phase | Experimentation and vital phase | Mastery and mental phase | Leaders push the sequence | Sun-marked physical–vital–mental fractal in DNA of life as causal agent of progress.

    Chapter 6—The Evolution Pattern: A look at evolution of life on earth, and how the patterns that are emerging in different fields of life parallels this overarching or base pattern.

    Key Concepts: Nature of creation as function of sequencing of building-blocks | Single ladder | Blue-print of progress | The evolution fractal | Records of evolution and progressive manifestation | Physical sub-phase of physical phase of evolution fractal | Atomic particles and physical sub–sub-phase | Fusing together and vital sub–sub-phase | Identity of form and mental sub–sub-phase | Closed-system interaction and vital sub-phase of physical phase of evolution fractal | Yearning and mental sub-phase of physical phase | Autonomous cellular activity at physical sub-phase of vital phase of evolution fractal | Experimentation and vital sub-phase of vital phase of evolution fractal | Increased yearning for identity and mental sub-phase of vital phase of evolution fractal | Culmination of vital phase of evolution fractal and basis of mental phase of evolution fractal | Simple thought elements and physical sub-phase in mental phase of evolution fractal | Choice and experimentation and vital sub-phase in mental phase in evolution fractal | Advanced mind-elements and mental sub-phase of mental phase of evolution fractal | “What the eye can see” and physical sub–sub-phase of mental sub-phase of mental phase of evolution fractal | Beginnings of history | Vital sub–sub-phase of mental sub-phase of mental phase of evolution fractal | Transition from vital sub–sub-phase to mental sub–sub-phase of mental phase of evolution fractal | Recorded history as journey through vital sub–sub-phase | Birth of Internet as a water-shed event | Internet soft-voice fractal | Beginning of open communication and physical phase of Internet soft-voice fractal | Multiplication of voices and vital phase of soft-voice fractal | Shifting of power and mental phase of soft-voice fractal | Carbon-based economy as surfacing of embedded physical–vital patterns | Carbon-based economy as a rite of passage | Earth–sun dance | Extending the Gaia hypothesis: Earth becomes an earth–sun | Fractal architecture applied to earth–sun dance | Astronomy and the physical view of the earth–sun dance |

    Astrology and vital view of earth–sun dance | Purpose and meaning and mental view of earth–sun dance | Sun-potential.

    Chapter 7—The Fractal Ladder: The linking together of the similar patterns appearing across different fields and systems, in reality different “scales,” to illustrate a fantastic ubiquitous fractal—perhaps part of a signature of a conscious design or implicit aspiration behind things.

    Key Concepts: Pathways | Common building-blocks | Extending idea of fractal geometry into complex behavioral structures | World out there is not really a world out there | Fractal reality versus Fractal Ladder | Fractal Ladder as a way out of contradictions | Key to climbing the Fractal Ladder | Story of progress and the physical–vital–mental journey | Climbing the rungs of the Fractal Ladder to connect inner power to global change | Step-wise journey | The Fractal Ladder as a fractal for progress | The miracle of progress | Upward and downward causality | Universality of downward causality | Safe passage in the vortex | Personification of Progress | Progress as a witness | Creation, power, and change in the world | Qualities of Progress: omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, omnicaring | Progress as a Mother | Relationship with Progress | Exceptional beings | Secret of power | Progress and stagnated journeying | Shifting our story of disbelief by completing the sun-marked physical–vital–mental journey | Our tremendous choice.

    Chapter 8—Fractal Properties: Examination of properties in a fractal world. These become tools, devices by which to maneuver through a very different world.

    Key Concepts: Application of fractal lens to better exercise our power in the world | Fractal model as an elaborate systems-view of the world | Progressive state and system evolution | Arranging properties by the triple view | Fractal Ladder seed-pattern | Physical properties to do with structure | Fractal universality | Universality connecting various fields | From a linear to a systems view | Fractal influence | Influence as giving the Fractal Ladder its ladder-like quality | Threshold of influence | Magnification caused by fractal influence | Fractal recursion | Recursion as applying fractal to sub-phase of journey | Recursive property used to piece together likely development of entities | Recursive property used to shed light on structure of entities | Fractal completion | Tendency of fractal to want to complete its journey | Fractal step-wise development | Capabilities of former phases increasing leverage of subsequent phases | Fractal evolution | Evolution alters conditions within which base journey exists | Spiral nature of journey on the Fractal Ladder | Fractal matrixing | Matrixing as a devise to perpetuate progress by leveraging established insights into progress | Vital properties to do with process | Fractal intersection | Intersection of fractals potentially causes each to progress | Religion fractal | Reviewing world conflicts through the lens of fractal influence | Fractal facilitation | Facilitation of stagnation by application of physical–vital–mental fractal | Status quo–chaos–questioning | Fractal flow | Flow as a property by which a range of energies enter into a situation | Fractal upscaling | Upscaling implies shifting from a disconnected linear to a one-system view | Mental properties to do with meaning | World-wiseliness | The more physical–vital–mental journeys one masters the more world-wisely one becomes | World-wiseliness and convergence and prevalence of fractals | Mirroring | All is a reflection of an inner state | Nothing lies on the Fractal Ladder | Affirmation | Successful outcome in the world as a result of the physical–vital–mental journey | Integration | Integration of physical, vital, mental, and underlying purpose | Integration and leadership | Uniqueness | Uniqueness as an outcome of the fractal journey | A fourth class of properties | Alignment with sense of progress | Aspiration for progress | Surrender of difficulties and dilemmas | Rejection of contrary fractals | Love for an omnicaring entity.

    Chapter 9—The Nature of Progress: Examination of the nature of progress and how that interacts with and ultimately shapes the Fractal Ladder.

    Key Concepts: The initial state | Creation has proceeded under the aegis of Progress | Reviewing manifested creation in understanding properties of Progress | Insight into transitions and trajectories when properties understood | Sequence to progress yielding to a fourth state | Insight into seed-state providing guidance in selecting emerging pathways | Who we become determined by nature of Progress | All-presence of Progress | All-knowingness of Progress | All-power of Progress | All-caringness of Progress | Properties co-exist and act in simultaneity in management of Fractal Ladder | Top-down versus bottom-up analysis of properties | Manifested states or physical, vital, mental building-blocks tell us something about Progress | “Perfection” and “service” at the physical level | Parallels between the top-down and bottom-up observations | All-presence and the physical state | Limitations of properties of Progress in nature | Power of energy versus light of energy | Adventure as proceeding under the aegis of power | All-power and the vital state | “Adventure,” “energy,” “assertiveness,” “growth” as characteristics of all-power | Questioning and the heart of knowledge | All-knowingness and the mental state | Impersonal and personal qualities of Progress | Omnicaring and heart | The fourth state—intuition | Intuition as a border-state connecting the top-down with the bottom-up | Rule of Heart | Fragmented creations of manifested nature | Physical, vital, mental states as fields of possibility | Changing action of properties of Progress in different fields of possibility | Fixed grooves of the physical | Physical–vital conglomerate | Uniqueness and identity manifest at the mental level | Intuition and more direct action from nature of Progress | Observed nature | Service as observed nature of property of omnipresence | Adventure as observed nature of property of omnipotence | Knowledge as observed nature of property of omniscience | Harmony as observed nature of property of omnicaring | Application of the physical–vital–mental architecture to Progress | Physical aspect of Progress as physical, vital, mental, intuitional states | Vital aspect of Progress as Service, Adventure, Knowledge, Harmony | Mental aspect of Progress as omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, omnicaring | Secret names behind the operation of the Fractal Ladder | Reduction of rigidities in building-blocks through action of intuition | Darker or shadow-states of physical, vital, mental | Structure, process, meaning of Fractal Ladder evolving rapidly | Basis of operation shifting from narrow one-dimensionality to holistic multi-dimensionality | AUM and the Fractal Ladder.

    Chapter 10—Remaking the Business World: A look at what business and the corporation may become as the Fractal Ladder continues to progress.

    Key Concepts: Comprehension of current problems through examination of related business fractals | Consumerism fractal, business fractal, global economy fractal, global society fractal | Choice of consumption as dictated from the physical, vital, mental ways of being | Wal-Mart and testament to being at the vital level of consumer fractal | Changing the root dynamic to bring about progression of related business fractals | Extent of impact of the root dynamics and the wake-up call | Climate change as essence of the wake-up call | Climate change as the result of a vital way of being | Business fractal at the vital level | Global economy fractal on vital side of boundary between vital and mental | Nature of boundary | Global society fractal and business standards of judgment | Progress of society as synonymous with progress of business | Global society fractal at the vital level | Pervasive vital-centeredness indicating severe loss of balance | Climate change as a rebellion of matter | Individual consciousness as the root of the world fractal | The remaking of business through shift in individual consciousness | The essence of CSR | CSR can give the appearance that a real shift in consciousness has occurred | False solutions and other disequilibrium as severe as climate change | Climate change as a wake-up call to the vital way of being | Nature of transition from the vital to the mental way of being | Different ways to accelerate shift from the vital to mental way of being | Mobilization of secret names of Progress | New creation of business must have four motive forces as foundation | People being allowed to follow their essential way of being as key to new creation | Organizations with enduring power have mobilized something of four motive forces simultaneously | Instability caused by following shadow-state of one motive force only | The great tragedy of current corporate life | Modern business versus grassroots community-driven development | Nature of leadership as the deciding factor.

    Chapter 11—Future Leadership: A look at the criticality and importance of leadership in the future scheme of things.

    Key Concepts: Puppets and cogs in a machine | Progress requires that particular circumstances be the field of an instrument | An unknowing instrument requires mastery over elements of the physical, vital, and/or mental | Elemental leadership versus holistic leadership | Holistic leadership causes more complete projections from the heart of Progress | Creation of unique personalities of deeper substance | Holistic leadership in tune with Progress is the need of the hour | Restructuring of existing building-blocks to counter past habits | Dynamism as a result of integrating the inner with the outer | Inner power versus physical–vital–mental power | Identity and progressive unfoldment determined by progressive unfoldment of Progress | Bringing uniqueness/dharma to the surface by adoption of more dynamic nature | Defining leadership | Task and necessity of 21st century leadership is redefinition on every level of creation | Living approach that will willingly cause people to change | Altering the symbolic reality of the physical, vital, mental | Deeper drivers have their own power and break held limits | Double-action of motive forces | Simultaneous driver action and tipping the balance toward more progressive development | Creation of inertia of physical | Creation of aggression of vital | Creation of narrowness and impotency of mental | Shifting of personality through action of drivers | Bringing into being a new modus operandi that mirrors essence of Progress | Fractal properties as a means of reinterpretation | From isolationist physical–vital based reality to mental–intuitional fractal-animated systems-based reality | Inevitability of manifestation of dharmas | Developing intimacy with Progress.

    Chapter 12—Alternative Futures: A look at global realities and how different futures may emerge depending on what part of the fractal pattern becomes active collectively.

    Key Concepts: Existence of Progress as indication of direction of development for humanity | “Physical” incarnation of Fractal Ladder | Physical–service–perfection conglomerate | Vital–adventure–courage conglomerate | Mental–knowledge–wisdom conglomerate | Intuitional–harmony–mutuality conglomerate | Alteration of base-fractal of which Fractal Ladder is a creation | “Vital” incarnation of Fractal Ladder | Physical–service–perfection–omnipresence conglomerate | Vital–adventure–courage–omnipotence conglomerate | Mental–knowledge–wisdom–omniscience conglomerate | Intuitional–harmony–mutuality–omnicaring conglomerate | “Mental” incarnation of Fractal Ladder | Possibility and apotheosis present at each moment of space and time | Choices made now determine timing of future incarnations of Fractal Ladder | Alternative paths as alternative futures | Connection and integration at crux of the Fractal Ladder | Fractal Ladder surrounded by general fractal vortex | Realization of reality of fractal-based system implies operation approaching intuitional level | Operation at intuitional level expedites uniqueness | Physical orientation scenario | Nature of catastrophe in physical scenario | Façade dynamics | Vital orientation scenario | Limit dynamics | Impact on psychological health | Loss of subjective power | Causal relationship between subjectivity and objectivity reversed | Asset view of life | Inherent and disproportionate value ascribed to money | Impact on physical health | Impact on global political stability | Lack of idealism and balanced development | Seed-pattern works itself out on a global-scale supply chains as organizations of destruction | Needless and wasteful resource extraction, manufacturing, and consumption | CSR makes no difference unless base consciousness of citizens changes | Mental orientation scenario | The value of questioning | Questioning at different ends of the mental orientation spectrum | Limits of questioning | Creation of more thoughtful though silo'd institutions | Burst of apparent creativity | Intuitional orientation scenario | Developing a witness consciousness | Emergence of uniqueness-based manifestations in various fields | Form follows spirit | Citizens as heroes who act from the core.

    Chapter 13—Transformation: A look at the transformation that needs to take place in many popular institutions.

    Key Concepts: Shifting from the physical–vital orientation to the mental–intuitional orientation | Worldview needing to be turned on its head | Focusing on the physical only is to miss the context of life | Consigning ourselves to littleness and lack of possibility through a physical–vital orientation | Physical–vital power as one that accelerates the debilitation of the world-system | Condition for meaningful global change | Necessity of sea-change in personal psychology | Co-responsibility as a creative center of a sustainably progressing world-system | Boundary conditions and individual leadership | Logically thought out change versus change resulting form shift in consciousness | Creative stillness in the eye of the fractal storm | Becoming a compelling center for the creation of a new organizational reality | Alternative drivers behind business organization | Business-as-expression-of-uniqueness paradigm | Force and authenticity of motive force incarnations creating natural leaders | Business as a note in a fantastic score orchestrated by Progress | Pauperization of mosaic of commerce by focus on money rather than uniqueness | Sense of money re-contextualized by completion of its own fractal | Shift in context of life in mental–intuitional orientation | Value of money from the physical–vital and mental–intuitional perspectives | Different measurements of worth | Focus on accumulation and financial crises | Fixing attention on underlying progress rather than accumulation of money | Current perception of money as a great binding chain | Physical–vital orientation as one of limitation and high cost of money | Mental–intuitional orientation as one of increasing abundance and low cost of money | A re-contextualized mosaic of commerce | A freer, more possibility-faced mosaic for each institution of society | Mosaic as an expression of a collectivity | The four characteristics and the essence of a country culture | Mental–intuitional orientation allows deeper and formative dynamics to come into being | International relations as a function of mutual learning and exchange of living cultures.

  • Notes

    1. Refer to Brigg (1992) and Gleick (1988) as starters in this subject.

    2. The terms physical, vital, mental were coined by Sri Aurobindo. Refer to Sri Aurobindo's Collected Works, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

    1. See Balkan (2005) for a more detailed examination of this subject.

    2. See Brittain-Catlin (2006) for a more detailed treatment of this subject.

    1. Refer to Colin (2004) for further discussion on this.

    2. Refer to Benyus (2002) for a more elaborate treatment of this subject.

    1. Please note that while the creation of these phases is only a thought experiment applying the emerging fractal model, Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine (published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram), has the most detailed and robust explanations of evolution I have been exposed to. This thought experiment is likely influenced by his thought.

    2. Refer to Don Tapscott (1996) for a more detailed treatment of this subject.

    3. Refer to James Lovelock (2006) for a detailed treatment of the Gaia hypothesis.

    1. In Sri Aurobindo's The Mother (published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram), Sri Aurobindo describes four active powers: maheshwari (knowledge), mahakali (power), mahalakshmi (harmony), and mahasaraswati (service and perfection) that govern manifested existence. These four terms arrived at here have similarities with these four powers.

    2. Refer to Sri Aurobindo's The Upanishads (1981) which has a translation of portions of the Mandukya Upanishad relating to AUM.

    1. There are many books on climate change. See Flannery (2001) for a deeper treatment of climate change.

    2. For an overview of CSR, refer to John Elkington (1999).

    3. Refer to Becker and Selden (1998) for a more detailed treatment of this subject.

    4. For a detailed illustration of how the oil and gas and the automobile industries have compromised our lives, see Tamminen (2008).

    5. Refer to Jared Diamond (2005) for an illustration of the instability of a narrow one-dimensional societal focus.

    1. We made reference to “The Elliott Wave Principle” in Chapter 1. Also refer to Prechter (2002).

    2. See Talberth (2008) for alternatives to GDP/GNP.


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    About the Author

    Pravir Malik is the founder and president of Aurosoorya—an organization focused on fractal systems architecture. He has been the Managing Director at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and has also been the founding member of A.T. Kearney India. Pravir Malik is a change architect who draws insight into potential futures through a study of global trends and patterns, systems theory and human potential. Most of his work in the last two decades has been focused on the corporate sector, helping leaders in large organizations bring about significant organizational and business changes.

    He has written two books on the future of organizations: India's Contribution to Management (2000) and Flowering of Management (1997).

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