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

RE: Chaos, Complexity, & Pyschology

Nov 11, 1994 10:47 AM
by jrcecon

Jerry wrote:

> 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.

Not to be too technical, but there are a number of different
formulations of exactly what "Complexity Theory" really is.  I
have come at it from economics, and among those I discourse with,
complexity theory would probably be described simply as the study
of complex systems moving in multidimensional, multiscalar
spaces.  Some of these systems seem to cycle back and forth
between states of (relative) order and chaos, others seem to
remain perched on the "edge of chaos" (as Stuart Kaufmann so
poetically put it).  Chaos theory, then, is the study of one
aspect (a "subset") of a complex system...the behaviour of the
system in its chaotic phases.  Complexity theorists have put a
lot of energy into borderline conditions (because they are so
interesting) but that is not all complexity theory is.  The Santa
Fe people are perhaps the best known, but are certainly not the
only ones studying complexity...and in fact other researchers
don't fully agree with the particular angle on complexity Santa
Fe takes (e.g., Santa Fe, of late, seems to many to have rather
overemphasized Artificial Intelligence/Artificial Life, fields
whose assumptions and philosophical perspectives disturb & annoy
a lot of scientists)..

The Institute itself was begun by a few people who had studied
chaos theory, and a good number who had not.  In fact, I believe
the original impulse came from (if I remeber correctly) an
initial conference composed of a group of economists and a group
of physicists who had sat down to discover whether there were
points of possible conversation between their very different
disciplines.  Many of them had never worked with chaos theory.

All this aside, I'd like to talk with you more about
complexity/chaos' application to not only psychology but to the
"spiritual" realm in general.  But! before I go any
original post was to you & not the list, because I am unsure
whether the list has any interest in this.

Out of politeness, then perhaps I should ask the list...does
anyone want to hear a complexity discourse, or would you prefer
Jerry & I talk privately?

And, to Jerry...I understand the ratio you speak of...its a
interesting application of complexity...let me ask you if you've
integrated scaling into your your information
"equations".  Information certainly is delivered to the human
awareness at many different (one might almost say `discrete')
scales, i.e., the microsensations that thee physical environment
delivers to us second by second as well as the continual impulses
coming from within the body, to the larger scale emotional
conceptual inputs coming from (for instance) a charged situation,
to overwhelming large-scale movements that seem to sweep groups
into harmonic resonance (i.e., the patriotic wave that swept the
US during the Gulf War).  Talk to you again soon (and, by the
way, delightful to meet you!)


[Back to Top]

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