May 20, 2011

The Chaos paradigm

A must watch: a high quality BBC documentary on the great paradigm shift that happened through the second half of the 20th century from the Newtonian paradigm of a clockwork universe, not to Relativity or Quantum Uncertainty, but straight into Chaos.


It lasts exactly 1 hour.

Found at In Defense of Marxism, which has an article on it, with a few punctual criticisms and some of its politico-economical implications.

I understand that the film has an spiritual (emotional) and intellectual value and is worth watching even for those in the know, so to say, of Chaos science. Because it is not so easy to comprehend this new unavoidable paradigm and the film certainly aids to that in many ways. Understanding Chaos may be even more important than understanding Relativity, because Einstein's theory only applies to some aspects of reality, while Chaos applies to everything.

It is this overwhelming influence of Chaos mathematics and physics what makes this understanding so crucial, whichever one's field or fields of interest: it applies to evolution and human prehistory surely and it also is in the economy, in social organization and even in the intimacy of our souls (psyche).

Self organization, feedback, fractality (the part and the whole are usually similar), unpredictability of even very simple systems, orders as forms of chaos and not anymore its opponents and critically the real option for a small incident to precipitate a major reaction if the conditions are adequate albeit unpredictably so (the butterfly effect).

We have no choice but to embrace Chaos if we are to do something in it.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. This was cutting edge when I studied it as a math major in the early 1990s and is now increasingly part of the core curricular for advanced quantitative studies in many disciplines.

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