Dactyl Fractal Consciousness awakens in Claire Watson, maker of art gloves. It's only a second-order handlebrot, probably due to her inability to stitch smaller parts. Once Watson's inevitable physical recapitulation manifests, she will have no trouble with ultrafine stitching using her many, many tiny fingers.
But that will be nothing compared to what is to come, as Dactyl Fractal Consciousness ushers in a new evolutionary epoch -- one in which our descendants, Homo teradactylus, will be able alter materials at the atomic level using only their hands. Perhaps they will even be able to poke and fiddle with the fabric of the Universe itself.
Three weeks ago, Kamani Hubbard was born with fully functional sixth digits on both hands and feet. While polydactylism occurs in 1 out of 500 births, it's very rare for the digits to be more than deformities. Kamani's extra fingers and toes are so perfect that no one noticed the abnormal number until his father spotted them well after birth.
While the decision to remove the extra digits is the parents', Kamani's doctors are advising that he be allowed to keep them:
"It's merely an interesting and beautiful variation rather than a worrisome thing. I would be tempted to leave those fingers in place," said Dr Michael Treece, a paediatrician at St Luke's.
"I realise children would tease each other over the slightest things, and having extra digits on each hand is more than slight. But imagine what sort of pianist a 12-fingered person would be. Imagine what sort of a flamenco guitarist. If else, think of their typing skills."
Baseball experts have already pointed out that the extra fingers could come in extremely useful in pitching the ball.
Now that humanity is beginning to perfect lateral polydactylism -- possibly as part of some sort of flamenco-guitar-related sexual-selective force -- could we start seeing the inevitable exponential polydactylism necessary to manifest the Handelbrot Set?
Welcome again to Stamp Nook! Today we spotlight two powerful, yet very different, philatelists: Karl Rove and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It's hardly a secret that philatelists run much of the world. Philately is, after all, an elite pastime that appeals to those accustomed to luxury and ultimate wealth, so of course those who reach the pinnacles of power are privileged to partake in it. But beyond that, there is a natural affinity between the collecting of stamps from various nations and the collecting of various nations themselves that appeals to the Imperial-minded. (Interesting fact: World War I was orchestrated as part of a gentleman's agreement among philatelist leaders of the Allied and Central Powers for no other purpose than to create a pretext for the independence of more nations from which new stamps could be issued.)
Kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, heads of state and potentates -- philatelists all! Those who aspire to power would do well to start a stamp collection, if for no other reason than to have something to chat about while hobnobbing at Bilderberg conferences.
Given philately's ubiquity among the world's ruling class, it's no wonder that Karl Rove -- the Republican strategist who, unable to acquire the power he desperately desires through conventional means, has instead ingratiated himself into the company of the elite as a sort of modern-day Kingmaker -- all-too-readily admitted to being a 'practicing philatelist' last year at a Radio-Television Correspondents' Association dinner. However, when asked if he had any rare stamps in his collection, he conceded that he did not.
That's probably for the best as he's wont to use items from his collection for actual postal transactions, as was the case when he mailed a note to the owner of a soap-box derby car named in his honour, plastering the envelope with a 'hodgepodge of vintage stamps from his collection, including an eight-center with a stylized image of a bobsled, commemorating the Sapporo Olympics, in 1972' (Scott #1461).
In a recent New York Times interview, Rove acknowledged his predilection for using his stamps to humourous effect:
Are you going to send [US President-Elect Barack Obama] a little note congratulating him?
I already have. I sent it to his office. I sent him a handwritten note with funny stamps on the outside.
What kind of funny stamps?
To Rove's boorish mind, stamps themselves are funny. His unsophisticated use of stamps to express messages, apparently often of a trite nature, is more akin to the Language of Stamps once used by novice philatelists than to true philatelic steganography as practiced by those elite philatelists who fully embody their positions of power -- philatelists whom Rove unconvincingly emulates. For an example of the latter, we need only look to FDR.
Unlike Rove's irreverent, if not dilettantish, take on philately, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a serious philatelist who took great pride in his collection and interest in the philatelic arts at all levels. While President, he was very active in the design process for new stamps, exercising veto power over proofs that didn't meet with his exacting standards. He even sketched original designs for several issues, including a Mother's Day stamp (#737) intended to encourage Americans to write their mums.
Some have suggested that the only reason FDR ran for president was so he could create new material for his collection. He certainly was unabashed at using the power of his office to further his philatelic goals, going so far as to have the Post Office Department create a commemorative Polar Stamp (#733 -- his own design, naturally) and establish a post office at Admiral Byrd's expedition base in Antarctica just so he could have for his own collection a cover with a special postmark from 'Little America'. Now that's a dedicated philatelist.
Roosevelt's love of stamps was of such international renown that it became the subject of a 1947 stamp from Monaco (#C16). Besides commemorating the tenacity with which he pursued philately, this stamp was the only depiction of a physical abnormality FDR possessed that was kept hidden from the public. I am of course referring to the extra finger he had on his left hand:
Not wishing to alarm a nation already made nervous by Depression and War with the possibility suggested by his sinister sixth digit of a physio-transformative morphogenic awakening -- a 'New Deal' for human physiology, if you will -- brought on by the sympathetic gravity of unfolding historical events, Roosevelt insisted that his extra finger be airbrushed out of all official photos (a technique suggested to him by Stalin, who often used it to erase sore thumbs). He even took to pretending to have suffered from polio in order to distract attention away from his hand, such was the level of secrecy surrounding his asymmetric polydactylism.
But being a philatelist to the end -- his last phone call, less than an hour before his death, was with his Postmaster General, Frank C. Walker, about the first day ceremonies for a United Nations stamp -- Roosevelt made certain his secret would be revealed only to his fellow stamp collectors, whom he knew could be trusted with the information. Thus a seemingly innocuous airmail stamp from a seemingly innocuous Monaco was used to reveal his secret from beyond the grave.
The stamp was issued to commemorate the principality's participation in the Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition. Obviously this rarefied subject would garner the attention of the philatelic elite more than that of the non-stamp-collecting hoi polloi. Notice the details of the design: FDR seems to be using his magnifying glass on a stamp from his collection, but there is something amiss that only a true philatelist would note... he is not using philatelic tongs! A dedicated practitioner of philately such as FDR would never risk exposing his precious stamps to finger grease, making it clear to the philatelist that the magnifying glass is actually a prompt to use one's own glass to examine FDR's hand more closely, allowing his polydactyl secret to be known.
To this day FDR's condition is denied to the public; but we philatelists, who carefully study the signals and hidden messages delivered through stamps by our compatriots in positions of power throughout the world's governments, know the truth -- about this and many more important things I shan't divulge in mixed company.
So until next time, keep studying your stamps for further instructions and happy philateling!
The manifested Jungian archetype of polydactylism pokes its many fingers further into the doughy belly of popular culture.
Gemma Arterton, the new "Bond Girl" in the latest 007 film, A Quantum of Solace, was born with 12 fingers. Unfortunately, her two extra digits were removed shortly after birth by the Medical Establishment -- dogmatic proponents of physiological uniformity who would rather butcher healthy mutants than have to spend valuable golf-time learning the names of new body parts. But try as they might, Establishment doctors are on the losing side our evolutionary destiny:
"My dad had them [extra fingers], and my granddad," Arterton told Esquire magazine. "I feel like we're one step ahead -- a sign of things to come. ... We could do more stuff if we had extra fingers -- faster texting, faster emailing, better guitar-playing."
Also of note in the entertainment world, the new FOX series Fringe features a six-fingered hand-print both on its marketing posters and on bumpers before the commercials:
Besides documenting the mysterious Observers and the menace of giant floating place-names, Fringe follows investigators searching for the truth about "the Pattern" -- an emergence of strange scientific phenomena and experiments that may signal a tipping point in Humanity's patience with J.J. Abrams. But could the show actually be on to something? Could there be a "the Pattern" in real life? And if so, is it not logical to surmise that "the Pattern" is the Handlebrot set -- a single, yet infinitely complicated, unifying pattern of our existence that has been for eons guiding our development into the polydactyl super-beings that Gemma Arterton foresees?
On a less momentous note, a while back I moved my Dactyl Fractal Zoom toy from the wallpaper subdirectory (where I haphazardly put it after I originally created it) to a proper subdirectory of its own. This broke the link from Stumble Upon, a popular random-link site which was the source for most of the traffic to the toy. Well, now some Stumble Upon user has found the new location and re-stumbled it, which has resulted in the Dactyl Fractal Zoom getting around 40,000 hits just today. Egads! Anyway, I added a few links to the containing page, so hopefully all those people won't just stumble past the rest of my site. My apologies to those who preferred the starker, link-free version.
...or perhaps it originated there? Could it be that the awakening of dactyl fractal consciousness is merely an atavism from an earlier form of existence shared by the common ancestors of humans and octopuses -- an existence where such stifling notions as a finite number of limbs had yet to encumber our ancestors' tactile perceptions of their reality? Could we already be past this vertex on the parabola of evolution, and are now heading back up toward the infinite reaches of body segmentation? What next shall we see? Elephants with bushy multitrunks? Snakes sprouting snakes sprouting snakes? Hydraferrets? Could this be what the Maya prophesized will happen on December 21, 2012? Could the Singularity be cut short by the Multiplicity?
A deviant artist spontaneously manifests a dactyl fractal only to discover he is part of a larger Jungian archetype. He goes on to uncover and list many mutations of the Handlebrot set done by other deviants, as well as my own.
As dactyl fractal consciousness rises, it is only a matter of time before physical instances of true dactyl fractality emerge. Until then, society will just have to make do with lateral polydactyls, such as major league baseball pitcher Antonio "el Pulpo" Alfonseca.
More on the Dactyl Fractal (aka the Handelbrot set). The Verizon ad wasn't an isolated instance of synchronicity, as can be seen in the Technovelgy.com post: Bush Robots - Fingers On Your Fingers On Your Fingers...
"Bush robots" were proposed by roboticist/futurist Hans Moravec (see his paper "Fractal branching ultra-dexterous robots"). Basically they consist of a robot arm that has smaller arms attached to one or both ends, that in turn have still smaller ones attached, and so on, forming a bush-like pattern. They will be able to manipulate objects at multiple size scales (conceivably from the megabotic to the nanobiotechnological), bringing together the smaller arms to form larger arms. Such a robot could, theoretically, rip open your house, grab you, pick up a scalpel, slice you open, reach in, grab a cell, reach into the cell, and fiddle with its DNA -- all with the same arm.
Perhaps the recent awakening of the Handelbrot set in the collective consciousness is a premonition of the Singularity? Clearly, when the robots rise, hand to hand combat will not be a viable form of resistance.
According to the mother of the 10-year-old from Nagpur, India: "I feel that he should make more progress in life that people with twenty fingers are not able to achieve."
Indeed, while the Babylonians recognized the inevitable rise of humans with six digits per limb with their sexagesimal numeral system, they could not have foreseen the beneficial mathematical complications of an extra toe. Devender may be the harbinger of a revolution in fuzzy numeral systems with variable bases.
The perception of extra digits is a common experience of people in altered states of consciousness. This link between the subconscious and dactyl evolution was explored in the documentary Altered States, in which William Hurt used psychotropic drugs and a sensory deprivation tank to force himself to transcend common pentadactylism.
As the Handlebrot archetype spreads through the collective subconsciousness, we should expect to see more instances of lateral polydactylism spurred by gathering morphogenic fields, eventually culminating in true fractal dactyl progress.
Here's an ad for Verizon broadband found in October's Wired:
So, here's the question: Did Verizon's ad agency get the idea from my site (consciously or unconsciously), did both they and I get the idea from some third party that I've forgotten about, or is it that the evolution of the Human mind has reached a turning point -- spurred, perhaps, by our increased reliance on finger-mediated communication -- where the archetype of the Handlebrot is now manifesting itself spontaneously in our collective consciousness and we should expect to see it pop up in more places as time progresses?
If any Jungian chaoticians have a theory, I would be happy to hear it.
Copyright © 2004-2013 Lyle Zapato & ZPi
unless otherwise noted or implied.