is not merely a mindless jiggling,
it's a subtle form of order."
does chaos theory have to do with creativity? Everything.
A simple understanding of chaos will forever change your idea
of what creativity is all about. In truth there is no chaos,
just different levels of order, interlaced and folding in
essential concepts behind chaos theory are that:
is the key to perceiving order.
is order in apparent randomness.
only takes a very small change to render a system chaotic,
or conversely bring order to chaos. This event has been
dubbed the "strange attractor".
strange attractor is self-reflective and redundant.
is composed of mirroring echoes of non-linear even
discernment between chaos and order is merely a point of view. "Maps
are imaginative pictures which allow thought to bring into focus
aspects of reality that might otherwise be lost in details. With
a good map we can appreciate some features of a reality we could
otherwise miss, and we can explore this reality in a way that would
be actually impossible without the map." So say John Briggs
and F. David Peat in their excellent book Turbulent Mirror.
you are inside of something, say an atom, you only see electrons
whirling chaotically around you. If you moved outside the atom you
would see those electrons moving with a pattern around the atom.
If you rise further above you see that atoms are actually the building
blocks of larger structures called molecules. And so it goes, on
up the scale, ad infinitum. The ever familiar 'forest from the trees'
syndrome. It's all a matter of perspective. True creativity is allowing
yourself to gain the loftiest perspective you can in relation to
the object of your quandary or inquiry.
in its most meaningful sense renders order out of chaos. True creativity
engenders new coherent form from existing patterns or ideas. The
creative mind is not subdued by the apparent anarchy of random chaos.
theory has discovered that when a system begins to veer out of balance,
it is pulled in the new direction by a 'strange attractor.' According
to John Briggs, "An attractor is a region of phase space which
exerts a "magnetic" appeal for a system, seemingly pulling
the system towards it."
strange attractor is the force that pulls any system in an entirely
new direction. When you focus on a solution to a puzzle, your focus
is what pulls all the relevant information together to find the
solution. In effect, concentrated focus is the strange attractor
we use to manipulate the world in a way that is creative and purposeful.
a system to move out of a state of coherency, or order, it only
takes a very small, self-replicating event to pull it into apparent
chaos. Mathematicians found that it was a very small fractional
interjection, multiplied upon itself, that sends a system into a
new nonlinear, seemingly chaotic direction. Chaos theory has also
discovered that all things are interconnected. As the Taoist has
always known, a butterfly in Asia exercising its wings can create
a cyclone on the other side of the planet. Now we know why.
fractional changes in direction result in fractals. "Randomness,
is interleaved with order, simplicity enfolds complexity, complexity
harbors simplicity and order and chaos can be repeated at smaller
and smaller scales, a phenomenon known as fractal." Fractals
were so named because they are the very small change in events that
folding in upon themselves can create whole new systems. Fractals
are nested self-replicating events. A Chinese box of nested boxes
is analogous to a fractal.
takes all that has come before, ventures a bit further into the
unknown, brings back the unknown and marries it to what is known.
Sounds a bit like evolution doesn't it? It is the self-referential
nature of chaos that moves it towards eventual order. Sacred geometry
has shown us that nature is ever resplendent with self-replicating
forms. The golden mean and the fibonacci series are evidence of
this ever-repeating pattern. The fibonacci series continues to add
unto itself as it increases. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13.... Each number adds
to the number before it as the progression continues. This is how
nature adds back unto itself as it unfolds its myriad of forms.
The asymmetry that is created from this process results in the golden
mean, or the ratio of 1 : 1.6.
summary, natural order is maintained by a mirroring feedback loop.
We learn, and then add this learning to everything else we know.
A creative mind seeks to appreciate the order within all things,
and to create new form or systems from that existence order. A creative
mind understands that chaos is relative to a point of view.
the best news coming out of chaos theory is that everyone does has
an effect on the whole. Every contribution you make in a creative
vein does have an effect on all that exists. There are no small
or meaningless creative acts.
is the process by which creativity is generated. Thus, the true
act of creativity is an act of self-reflection. Order is created
from the mirroring of consciousness back onto itself. Venturing
into the unknown, or venturing slightly off the beaten path, is
the creative urge. Adding the new territory to the existing map
is what allows the new effort and energy to take form.
interested in increasing their creative talents would be wise to
read the Turbulent Mirror to gain a fuller understanding
of this theory. Another book worth reading is Order Out Of Chaos
by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers. And, there is the book
Chaos by James Gleick. Once you understand the profound implications
that science is now revealing, your creative horizons will be infinitely
broader. Once you understand how important you and what you do are
in the whole scheme of things, you will fully appreciate the precious
gift of creativity you hold.
J.L. Read, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
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