Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chaos and the Hidden Order of Life

Each day this week I will discuss the evidence for our interconnection in the world. Our feelings of separateness can lead us to feelings of dissatisfaction because we have lost our connection to the universe, to who we really are.

Monday – Origins - A Moment in Singularity (a.k.a. The Big Bang)
Tuesday - Holarchy
Today - Chaos and the Hidden Order of Life
Thursday - Synchrony
Friday - Time and Place

There was a time, when the complexity of nature and even life in general looked to be a series of random events. As time has progressed our perspective has broadened and now there are many reasons to see order, connection and interdependence in the apparent chaos.

When computers first became available, scientists started using them to solve mathematically intensive problems. What they found were complex hidden attractors behind their observations and calculations. These attractors organized the apparent chaos into patterns not previously understood.

One of first of these was in the study of weather and the “butterfly effect”. The naming of the “butterfly effect” came from the idea that a butterfly beating its wings in one area will cause a weather storm in another. So began the study of nonlinear dynamics also known as Chaos Theory.

The nonlinear nature of the weather makes the measurements difficult. Any small mistakes are dramatically amplified in the subsequent calculations, reducing the accuracy of the longer term prediction. This key finding is generally true in all nonlinear situations. Considering life’s nonlinear nature, could this give us any insight into our personal destiny in the near term versus the longer term? Does this help confirm that as each moment arises, an infinite set of possibilities appear?

So, beginning with the idea that the natural condition was chaos, a hidden order has been found. Now with the discovery of fractals, repeating patterns from the smallest sub segments throughout the Holonic hierarchy, hidden order and connection is found where chaos was expected. As this can be a highly technical subject, I suggest further reading in James Gleick’s “Chaos, Making a New Science”, or Gary Flake’s “The Computational Beauty of Nature.”

Picture by: the-square-root-of-3 via

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