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Circular/Spherical Infinity

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Origin | History | Applications | News/Updates News/Updates

circular infinity (click)

Origin

yin-yang symbolThis image is based off fractals and the yin-yang symbol, and also reminds me of an electromagnetic field and very much like this chakra field diagram (Google cache, Internet Archive Wayback Machine)--(and somewhat like this version of chakra energy flow Internet Archive Wayback Machine—see Wikipedia: chakra for general info). A friend at the time said it reminded him of the Cantor set. I didn't know what this was at the time but, after a bit of researching on the Web, I emailed a math professor who told me this image is "a depiction of a 'Cantor-like' process". Another interesting thing about this image is that it can be drawn by simply making smaller and smaller figure-8s (infinity symbol), which only intersect in the center. I call this "circular infinity" (2D) or "spherical infinity" (3D). Vortices can also be seen by spiraling down along the circle lines. This version is a base-2 division but a base-3 (and higher) division version is possible and used in esoteric literature.1


History

Circular infinity was originally created in Adobe PageMaker in 1997, later redone in Adobe Photoshop, and made into a 3D model ("spherical infinity") around 11/20/1997 when it was first "published" in the Active Worlds worlds Hole and Cubed (before it was taken down--but is still sometimes in a larger form in Hole). In or around December 1999, this webpage was created. In 2002, a Maya model was made. In 2005-6, various Second Life iterations of circular/spherical infinity were created.


Applications

All of these applications of circular/spherical infinity can be thought of as sets and subsets (sets within sets) and hierarchial.

Absolute relativity

absolute relativity
    A philosophical construct I subscribe to, and circular/spherical infinity relatively illustrates, is the term "absolute relativity", which basically means everything is relative to itself and interconnected. This may seem paradoxical but, regarding the seeming apparent contradiction between the absoluteness of "all is relative", consider that the absolute can, in theory, only exist in whole (monism) only if everything within (relative to) that whole is relative to everything else (also relative to that whole)--"absolute relativity".

    Other visual representations of absolute relativity could be:

    • A number of points all connected to each other (such as a 12-vertex complete graph--see image at right). However, this can lead to a sort of "fractal absolute relativity" in which, simply by zooming in or out on the "contained absolute relativity", can result in nested absolute relativities (like circular/spherical infinity).
    • Enclosing a circle ( ) with a larger square touching the circle's outsides [( )], then enclosing the square with a larger circle touching the square's corners ([( )]), and so on infinitely.
    • I would think this concept applies to all self-similar patterns (fractals).

    The contradiction of "absolute relativity" appears and disappears relative to the extent at which the concept is understood (related to). It works if you think about it...and understand it. Such is the nature of nature to be and not be a paradox.

    Put another way, base-2 circular/spherical infinity can be seen as dualistic or monistic depending on one's perception and focus. If focusing on the inner circles, a duality appears but if the inner circles are seen as being a part of the larger circle (since the circles continue infinitely outward as well), a monism appears. Hence, circular infinity is both monistic and dualistic at the same time.


Cycles/Magnitude/Time

    Perhaps the most obvious application is of a cycle--specifically, embedded cycles such as units of time and orders of magnitude

    Planck time -> attoseconds -> femtoseconds -> picoseconds -> nanoseconds -> microseconds -> milliseconds -> centiseconds -> deciseconds -> seconds -> minutes -> hours -> days -> weeks -> months -> years -> decades -> centuries -> millenia -> (periods -> eras -> eons -> etc.)

    60 -> 60 -> 24 -> 7 -> 4 -> 12 -> 10 -> 100 -> 1,000 -> 10,000 -> 100,000 -> 1,000,000 -> etc.

    So, if the outer circle is a millenium (1000 years), then 10 circles inside it are the centuries (100 years), 10 more circles on the next level for decades (10 years), etc. Granted, the circles won't divide perfectly because of the different base divisions so some relative conversions will have to be made.

Games

    The game of life and it's many "mini-games" (find food, shelter, go to work, mate, etc) can be represented by cirular infinity.

Logic/Math

    This image could also be used to describe/show how logic works. I believe all logic is circular--some circles are just "bigger" (different sizes) than others and within other circles. All logic eventually comes back unto itself no matter how many "steps" in between the premise and conclusion. A = A is directly circular, A = B = A is (reflectively circular), A = B = C = A is indirectly circular, and so on. Of course, an equation itself is used to show equality (similiarity), which is what circularity is.

Universe

    The universe can be represented by the outer circle and each galaxy and solar system within it as the smaller circles. Obviously there are more than 2 galaxies that make up the second level but there's no reason a circle can't be divided up into however many circles is desired instead of 2 (even vs odd) as depicted here. Expanding beyond a single universe could be a multiverse (2 or more universes) and even a single omniverse containing multiverses which contain universes, etc.

Zero/Infinity, Alpha/Omega, Beginning/End

    _Galadriel_ from the DALnet IRC #philosophy channel remarked on the relation between the concept of zero (0) and infinity (∞), alpha (α) and omega (Ω), and beginning/end in circular infinity and how they are both contained within each other (implying they are the same thing).

spherical infinity


News/Updates News/Updates

I'm trying to find a programmer to create a program which will let me create these circles automatically and then play with spinning/rotating the smaller circles around inside the larger circles. The inner circles would roll around the insides of the outer circles. I want to do it because I think it'd look interesting and be fun to play with, especially if I can have control over each circle's speed within which each circle rolls, if a circle is rolling or not, and the roll direction--or at least each circle level/group (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 etc). Another thing I'd like to do is be able to infinitely zoom in/out through the circles (perhaps even when they're spinning around) like fractal animations usually are. It would be very psychedelic, I'm sure. If you can create such a program, please email me for more details. Thanks!

?: David Eppstein told me "You can get something resembling your fractal using an inversion process like the ones used in the above pages, starting with three mutually tangent circles, but unlike yours the circles at each level of the recursion wouldn't all stay the same size as each other."

?: Lucian Wiznick has finished his download screen saver (1.2MB) based on this image. It does part of what I'd like to do, and even some things I hadn't thought of (like perpendicular rotation). Now if only I can get full control over the individual inner circle rotation timing and maybe even in true 3D (spheres vs circles), that'd be cool... Anyway, thanks Lucian!

~12/99: Created webpage and counter.

3/21/2K: ?
12/7/1: Added last 2 paragraphs (now "logic" and "absolute relativity" applications).


2002

2/27: Found a recursive circle drawing made with DrawScript (some RiscOS program). Created spherical infinity Maya model.

3/16: Asked in some fractal newsgroups for fractal program formulas and got one for Ultra Fractal from Kerry Mitchell, but it's quite slow because of UF being a raster program. If anyone has one for vector fractal generators, please email me.

7/9: Lucian has done it again! This download screensaver (1.2MB) does most of what I had in mind.

9/29: Added more historical info.


2003

2001 Rybury/Tann Hill crop circle

6/4: I saw a The Learning Channel show about crop circles and briefly saw one that looked a lot like this image so I did some research and here's what I found: The International Crop Circle Database. Created on July 27, 2001 in Rybury/Tann Hill, England, the photographer, Lucy Pringle, comments "caption is now "A ring containing a number of ever descreasing sized circles arranged across its diameter." while crop circle researcher Freddy Silva comments: "poorly executed diagram of the principle of alternation" . :/ I hope he's referring to that particular crop circle and not the design itself...

9/21: Paul Bourke emailed me about a POV-Ray tutorial he created using this image.

11/23: Added some Javascript image changing.
11/30: Found a Yin & Yang image generator Internet Archive Wayback Machine (at bottom) that can make images similar to circular infinity. Refined program request a bit to make it more clear.

12/31: Found (rediscovered, really) Steven Dutch's "Spherical Projections" (see "Stereographic Projection" ) which is an interesting variation on circular infinity.


2004

3/4: Added "regular network" image to Absolute Relativity. Created section titles.

4/18: Added "Cycles" application.

6/6: Roland van der Veen emailed me about a book called Indra's Pearls which supposedly contains circular infinity (but I didn't it see on the book's website).

7/2: Updated (and added a title for) news/updates with old news/updates (courtesy Internet Archive, which a link to was added at bottom).
7/4: Tweaked header.
7/8: Revised history. Tweaked news/updates (year headers, clumped site maintenance updates together). Fixed crop circle image link. Added Internet Archive link to Yin-Yang image generator.


2006

9/20: Replaced some origin section links with Wikipedia ones.

12/3: Fixed Rybury, UK 2001 crop circle link in 6/4/03 update. The crop circle database requires a login now. :/
12/6: Added "Zero/Infinity, Alpha/Omega, Beginning/End" to applications.
12/10: Applications: added "Games" and "Universe" and intro; reordered.
12/13: Added Wikipedia links for various things.
12/15: I've been working on recreating circular infinity in Mathematica and, with the help of some newsgroup users, have finally done it! The image under the blue Maya model (when clicked) is it; unfortunately, Mathematica can't anti-alias the lines so it doesn't look as good as the one I manually created in Photoshop. Mathematica is horrible to use (but better than MathCAD--which isn't saying much). I still want to create a vector version that can be infinitely zoomed in/out like a regular fractal...


2007

1/2: Michael Coleman has created an acrylic on wood panel version of circular infinity. Also on that page is a mention of a Mueller/Muller fractal and Global Scaling Theory (more specific info) and a diagram that looks a lot like circular infinity (only with 3 inner circles instead of 2) and is "The distribution of matter in the logarithmic space of scales in first approximation has the fractal dimension of Cantor dust, but is deformed hyperbolically in the proximity of a node point"--"logarithmic infinity" or "hyperbolical infinity".

Paul Bourke's (see 9/21/03 update) website is down. I emailed him recently about the POV-Ray version of circular infinity and he sent me all of the files to do it. Until his website is brought back up, the circular infinity page will be here. Also, this page is now located at http://tnlc.com/eep/circles/.


1/12: Updated absolute relativity.
1/30: Moved "History" section under "Origin" section and added Second Life info to "History", and vortex info to "Origin". Expanded Logic. nested wave

2/3: Fixed circles2 screensaver link in 7/9/02 news/update. On 1/22, inhahe, from IRC, emailed me programs that can supposedly "make circles roll around in the fractal circles image" but I have yet to install Python 2.4 and Pygame to try them out. Anyway, thanks inhahe!
2/5: I found this a few weeks or so ago, was going to add it to the page, but didn't for some reason. However, I refound this so I wanted to mention it here. San Graal Library - Alchemy, Magic, Incubation, Metatron, and Ancestors Internet Archive Wayback Machine has an image on it called "nested binary spheres" which looks like a 4-level deep circular infinity but without the outer circle which supposedly represents the 3D world (reality). I particularly like the smaller "nested wave" image.

3/5: Added "complete graph" link to absolute relativity.
3/12: Replaced absolute relativity black-on-white-background image with white-on-black background and circular infinity GIFs with white-on-transparent background PNGs (the old one can be seen by clicking on the circular infinity image, which now defaults to horizontal vs. vertical orientation). Added crop circle thumbnail image to 6/4/03 news/update.
3/13: Replaced absolute relativity white-on-black background GIF with white-on-transparent background PNG. Forced page width to 1024 pixels. I saw a documentary, "Crop Circles - Quest for Truth" (2002), which featured an unnarrated segment on the circular infinity crop circle at 46:24-47:55 (watch it on YouTube).

3/18: I emailed Freddy Silva the other day, regarding the crop circle, and he replied: "The design is the classic image of the vibrating string which describes the frequencies of the music scale, by halving a vibrating string. I believe it comes from Robert Lawlor's book on sacred geometry. In any case, that crop circle was man-made (I actually was there to analyze it), but the connection is ironic since the real ones are made by sound (see my web site)." I couldn't find anything about a vibrating string that looked like circular infinity but I found a PDF of Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and practice (1982) and its section about "the principle of alternation" states (note π = pi, which looks like a narrower "n"):

principle of alternation

    The principle of alternation is expressed geometrically in the ancient Taoist symbol of yin and yang. The form of this symbol arises from two equal circles within the larger circle, the diameter of each smaller circle being exactly 1/2 that of the larger. The ratio of the diameter to the circumference of any circle is n; C/D = n.

    At first glance the symbol suggests that the division of Unity (here taken as the large containing circle) is into two equal parts. Such a division results in a static equilibrium, without any possibility for growth. It is the asymmetrical division, as already demonstrated in the 1:J2 relationship, which creates proportion and thus the progression into form which we call growth. Later, in the Squaring of the Circle, we will discover the asymmetrical principle hidden within this symbol [in the assymetrical division]. But it is important to note in this context that the circumference of the smaller circles equals D/2 x π = πD/2. The sum of the circumferences of the two inner circles equals the circumference of the large circle (2 x πD/2 = πD). The figures show the continuation of this initial division carried through into 4 and then 8 divisions. This process of halving the circles can be carried on indefinitely; and at any point, when the sum of the circumferences of the smaller circles is totalled, it will still equal the original larger circle. This process can be taken to the point where the wavy line and the diameter become indistinguishable from one another, illustrating the paradox of the diameter becoming equal to the circumference of the same circle. Thus, like Theon's demonstration, this ancient diagram shows that at the origin and end all differentiation merges towards Unity.

Athanasius Kircher's unknown image 3/19: Renamed Cycles to Cycles/Time and edited it.
  • I've been researching more about vibrating strings and have found more images similar to circular infinity: Robert Fludd's mundane monochord (based on Pythagoras' philosophy of music, "the intervals and harmonies of the spheres", images of which can be seen on The Secret Teaches of All Ages (a book by Manly Palmer Hall) and an interesting tri-sectioned circular infinity-cross-like image on Sacred Science's Seeker Sanctuary from Athanasius Kircher's book, Musurgia Universalis (which I found a PDF of that has the image on page 450 labelled as "Artis Magne Confoni & Diffoni" above it but that label is at the top of other pages, too, so that's probably not it; perhaps the next page's title: "Lib. X. Decachordon Nature.", which would be some kind of "nature 10-string harp-like musical instrument" or "10-part nature", roughly translated--but the image has more than 10 parts, that I can see; there are 9 circles on the 3rd level, plus the outer circle would equal 10...but I think that's pushing it; besides, that label is also on other pages, too--this book doesn't label its graphics very well! And its index doesn't even HAVE the image listed!). Unfortunately, the PDF is entirely in Latin, which I don't know (and haven't had much luck translating it). If you know what this image's name means in English, please email me.
  • Also, a new 2-hour Science Channel mini-series, Exploring Time, uses a variant of circular infinity to represent timescales. Its website has an interactive Flash animation that lets you zoom in/out on the circular infinity variant.

4/6: Added Internet Archive link for San Graal Library (which seems to be down) 2/3/7 news/update.
4/11: Wikipedia links for applications intro (and added "hierarchy").

6/4: I just found a reference to Jean-Pierre Garnier Malet's theorie du doublement (English translation: "theory of the unfolding" or "doubling theory") which, apparently, he claims to have come up with between 1996-2000, interestingly... This theory is completely based around circular infinity.

6/15: Wikipedia consensorship deleted the "doubling theory" page I created but a backup is still available (for now). Agni: Way of Fire (Bruce Lyon, 2004, about Agni Yoga) has a "nine-fold manifestation of man" image, and various images regarding seven rays/planes, that are overlapping tri-sectioned (base-3 divisioned) circular infinities. Updated intro to reflect base divisions. I found Paul Bourke's new website (now here).

6/16: Stupid CSS tricks (overline, smallcaps, and image transparency). Found a much better chakra energy flow image ("chakra field diagram") that is pretty much exactly like circular infinity.

6/22: Sheesh...the chakra field diagram site fluctuates between being down and up (most likely an AOL server issue), but the Google cache still has it--and there's always Internet Archive.

7/23: Made a specific-resolution absolute relativity thumbnail so it doesn't get screwed up when scaled down; moved it to the right, too.


2008

5/3: On The History Channel's documentary television series The Universe, at the beginning of the "Cosmic Apocalypse" episode (season 2, episode 18) is a brief flash of an electromagnetic field (which circular infinity looks like, of course) right as the narrator says "bang" in "In the beginning, there was darkness...and then...bang...", implying this EM field represents the Big Bang. Changed electromagnetic radiation to electromagnetic field in intro.

11/7: Vincent Borja emailed me about Phun, a free 2D physics sandbox that can simulate circular infinity spinning. Vincent also created a circular infinity Phun file. Thanks Vincent!


2010

3/6: Fixed link to The Secret Teaches of All Ages in 3/19/7 update since About.com's version is down (and the Internet Archive versions don't have images).

6/6: Fixed links to crop circle database, comments, and image in 6/4/2003 update.


2012

9/23: Fixed nested wave image.
9/28: Searching Google for "circular infinity" yielded some "new" (to me) uses for this concept: something called the
aether wave theory, renewable energy (scroll down the page, and other pages in the thread, for more examples), and rigid body motion rotation and translation.
9/29: Perusing the Google results, it seems that Walter Russell uses circular infinity in his 1959 "wave optics and space geometry series".

10/4: Updated absolute relativity with duality/monality and some minor rewording/expansion to cycles/magnitude/time. Added menu. Found Paul Bourke's new website yet again... Added some more links to history. Doing a Google search for "spherical infinity" I came across:


10/5: C. Om has a good expansion on absolute relativity. Bulleted absolute relativity visual representations and added a new one: all fractals. Added symbols to, and minor rewording of, Zero/Infinity, Alpha/Omega, Beginning/End. Added intersecting circular infinity to top image (click to see). Reginald Brooks divides up the "geometry of music and color" monochord using circular infinity (most likely based off Robert Fludd's mundane monochord work).
10/20: Did a Google search for "torroidal universe" (after watching Thrive) and found circular/spherical infinity used on some Mormon Transhumanist website about "consciousness is a fundamental quality of absolute space" (whatever that is) and draws connections to zero-point energy, the chakras, tai chi, reincarnation, etc.

11/25: Did a Google image search for "fibonacci" and found some Fibonacci spiral art relating to circular infinity at Kean Walmsley's Creating Fibonacci spirals in AutoCAD using F# and Sidart (site can take a while to load). br>11/26: Renamed "Logic" to "Logic/Math", fixed misspelling, added some Wikipedia links. Circular infinity shows up as Jason Davies' prime number periodic curves (article about it) and as a Poincaré disc/disk (hyperbolic circular infinity).

12/1: Fixed Agni: Way of Fire links.
12/11: Moved circular infinity image out of text in order to facilitate better stereogram effects. To see it, cross your eyes and stare in the center; by crossing your eyes more and more, you can see more levels.


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