[MASTER INDEX] [DATE INDEX] [THREAD INDEX] [SUBJECT INDEX] [AUTHOR INDEX] |

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] |

Nov 11, 1994 09:17 AM

by Jerry Schueler

John <Am quite interested your use of complexity theory (or, I guess, "chaos" theory, tho chaos is really a subset of complexity theory). I know few Jungians capable of (or rather, interested in) handling the mathematics required to understand nonlinear dynamical systems.> Actually, complexity theory is a subset of chaos theory. The Santa Fe Institute which looks at complexity theory began in 1984 and many of those who participated were formerely associated with chaos theory, which began in the early 60s. Technically, complexity theory looks at the borderline area between order and chaos: what has been called, the edge of chaos. This area is where life is created (i.e., physically manifested) and maintained. It is where all living systems are located (or so goes the theory). I have found what appears to be a direct correspondence between this area and Jung's personal unconscious (the area that Jung describes lying between the conscious and unconscious. Anyway, heres an idea of where I am currently: There is a very interesting article (Iberall, A. S. & Soodak, H. "A physics for complex systems." in Yates, F. E. (Ed.) (1987). Self-organizing systems: The emergence of order. New York: Plenum Press.) which explores the concept of Reynolds number (Re, a measure of turbulence in flowing liquids). Re is extended by the authors by showing that the numerator represents a convective velocity, those forces that sweep matter into and through the field, while the denominator is a diffusional velocity such as the rate of transport of momentum. The classical equation is extended as: Re = V(convection) / V(diffusion) This form of the equation addresses whether or not the energy associated with the global convection velocity can be absorbed into the internal energy at the atomic level by some diffusive process. If not, the field becomes unstable and a new structured form or pattern emerges. The authors point out that convective field processes and local diffusion transports compete. Furthermore, a diffusive process may be momentum diffusivity or some other dominant mode of diffusion such as electrical, thermal, or chemical. In this way, the idea of Re can be transferred into other areas besides fluid flow, such as chemical patterns and even social patterns. They write, "The generalized Reynolds number criterion for emergence can even be applied to the nucleation of people into urban settlements in the post-Neolithic period" (p 508). In psycholgy, this equation can be reworded as: Re = sensory data / data assimilation Unfortuneately, psychological data is usually qualitative rather than quanititative, and thus number generation is difficult or impossible. However, the equation can be used to address a qualitative analysis because it suggests that Re will be greater than 1 whenever sensory data overloads the ability for assimilation. This is to say, whenever data are presented to us that cannot be assimilated into our world view. A psychological name for this occurrence (i.e., for Re > 1) is a significant emotional event. Such events will either result in a breakdown of the psyche (e.g., cognitive dissonance) or to a change in the psyche's world view. They usually cannot be ignored with impunity. True, this is only one area in which chaos theory can be carried over, but I think it is rather significant. The problem, of course, is the mathematics. Scientists have neat equations (often in the form of differential equations) for relatively simple complex systems. Human beings are way too complex for such equations to be transported meaningfully. In fact, Jung laments the fact that mathematics simply won't work with psychic phenomena. So, I am really just transporting the principles or relationships behind the math (mathematics, is after all, just a language that describes relationships). Other interesting research is going on too. For example, scientists now know that there is no such thing as empty space - i.e., the vacuum of space is in fact filled, not only with 'virtual particles' but also with charge. The charge in the vacuum that exists between the electron and nucleus of the hydrogen atom, for example, has actually been measured. It causes the electron's orbit to skew. A few courageous complexity scientists are trying to show that this charge is instrumental in psychic phenomena and maybe life itself (through its effects on quarks up to molecules). Of course, scientists are trying to find the material cause of consciousness. I rather think that anything they find will be effects rather than causes, but I find the new research data to be stimulating. Jerry S.

Theosophy World:
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application