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Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

Order and Chaos: A Homocentric Fallacy

Published by under Uncategorized on September 16, 2008

The concept of a balance between order and chaos has been around for quite some time and has indeed served a useful purpose. Like all models of reality we construct to help us understand the world around us, even a flawed model can serve a purpose for a while but we must eventually refine our models to more precisely match reality if we hope to understand reality properly and continue our journey of discovery and development.

The idea of order and chaos is basically a representation of predictability and unpredictability with a touch of magical thinking. If we can easily predict it, it is orderly. If it is unpredictable, it is chaotic. While this might have been some of the impetus behind these magical labels, it is not an accurate description of the inner workings of the balance between order and chaos.

In chaos theory, the path a drop of water takes is described as chaotic. This leaves the mechanism of the motion in a magical state. It is a religious label rather than a description of the event. The truth of the matter is that there are so many factors involved in the resolution of the path of a single drop of water that it is very unpredictable. This lack of predictability is only because of the lack of knowledge of the observer.

These magical explanations of phenomena have existed throughout the history of mankind. Once it was the god of fire that makes water boil and demons that make people crazy and the world was held up by atlas or a turtle. Now, because of the lack of understanding of electrons we have a model which predicts via probability but instead of understanding that it is a model we believe that electrons magically appear in a  single place when our holy minds observe them.

Order and chaos are better represented by the (still homocentric) terms simplicity and complexity. Or perhaps uniformity and differentiation. Over time it can be thought of as stasis and change. In every explanation of this concept we must understand our bias. In  the terms simplicity and complexity there is an inferred reference. Zoom in on a single portion of a complex system and it seems simple. Zoom out from a simple system and the way it interacts and interconnects with the rest of reality makes it complex. The same is true with uniformity and differentiation. There is an inferred reference of human perspective. Even when considering a time perspective there is the assumption that a picosecond isn’t a near eternity though there may exist a perspective in which it actually is a near eternity.

Do not limit your mind with homocentric arrogance. Do not give credence to any magical explanation.

When you understand that there is a mechanism to everything and that the whole of existence is comprehensible you can be comfortable with your temporary ignorance. Do not let your fear of innocent ignorance cause you to grasp a magical explanation as anything more than a temporary placeholder for future understanding. There is nothing in existence that cannot eventually be explained. All that we have explained does not even touch upon all that exists.

In a desert we can see that the balance is toward simplicity. In a rainforest we can see the balance is toward complexity. We can also see that logic and efficiency are balanced toward simplicity while reason and creativity are balanced toward complexity.

The understanding of the balance of simplicity and complexity can be seen throughout all of nature and the use of this concept in science will help humanity to advance in understanding, but we cannot advance until we eliminate magical thinking which causes us to stop looking deeper into complexity.

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