Posted as a comment to L.M.'s Page-inspired GIF cluster:
A C.M. Kornbluth story called "Shark Ship," written in the '50s, I think, has a flotilla-based oceangoing people surviving and conserving every calorie in a Waterworld type scenario.
The mainland has killed itself because of a death cult that took hold in the over-refined, decadent general populace.
The cult was started by an Irving Klaw-like bondage photo entrepreneur, who recognized in B&D the public craving for death and turned that appetite into a repressive mass cult.
The oceangoing people were set adrift years before by wise social engineers, in anticipation that the mainland would inevitably burn itself out. The boat people's purpose (unbeknownst to them) is to revitalize the mainland culture. By focusing so keenly on group survival, for several generations, they have rediscovered what is good and necessary in life and become Earth's next generation of leaders.
(Your science fiction tie-in for the day--although it doesn't deal with the mysticism aspect of your mandelbrotdalas.)