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

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

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 further...my 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 ideas...in 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!) -JRC

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