Thursday, May 18, 2017

No reason to confuse or conflate "chaos theory" with the U.S. administration

Chaos Theory is a contradiction of predicting the behaviour of “inherently unpredictable” systems. It is a mathematical toolkit that allows us to extract beautifully ordered structures from a sea of chaos-a window into the complex working of such diverse natural systems as the beating of the human heart and the trajectories of asteroids.
At the centre of Chaos Theory is the fascinating idea that order and chaos are not always diametrically opposed. Chaotic systems are an intimate mix of the two: from the outside they display unpredictable and chaotic behaviour, but expose the inner workings and you discover a perfectly deterministic set of equations ticking like clockwork.
Some systems flip this premise around, with orderly effects emerging out of turbulent and chaotic causes. (from

Clearly, if and when applied to natural phenomena, like heart beats and asteroids, outside of human control (except with the occasional intervention of technology) there is much to discover and to learn about how appearances can be and are deceiving, that much more complex and beautiful and even awe-inspiring things are going on than was at first believed. “Seeing through a glass darkly” is a mantra that can be used for much of human “cognition” and for most of human exploration of epistemology, how and what we know. From a religious perspective, we are cautioned that we see only very little, and somehow somewhere, in a spiritual transformational moment, we will see things differently.

Developing equations that attempt to grasp what has previously been  beyond human understanding, essentially at the forefront of the universe as we know/knew it, is a realm open to very few. And their attempts to reach the rest of us are frequently, if not always, impeded by many restrictions on both our capacity to understand and our openness to the most radically new.

In our continuing search for new frontiers in physics, astrophysics, quantum physics and even metaphysics, we seek not only new information but also new constructs to capture and to explain the new information and those new insights about that data. And yet, such seemingly ethereal and ephemeral voyages into what are new frontiers, while exciting and worthy of our collective support through research grants and scholarships, also pose a potential for our capacity to comprehend and to apply the new insights.

The word “chaos” is now the descriptive choice of many if not most critics, observers and analysts of the current American administration. Nothing, not protocol, tradition or even legal boundaries, is as before the inauguration. And, in our conventional manner of seeing this world of the presidency, of course all attributions of responsibility for this “chaos” point to the man in the Oval Office.

No presidential campaign will ever be the same again, as compared with the two hundred years of historical evidence, so the argument goes
No White House staff has even been so heavily tipped in favour of nepotism.

No president has ever dis-avowed the conventions about bribery, and taken the presidency to its unfettered limits…to declare what was classified, non-classified, to declare the president can have no conflicts of interest, to declare a blatant intent to deconstruct the administrative state, to denigrate and to trash the hard-won civil rights of minorities, nor to restrict fleeing refugees and immigrants on whose integration the republic’s highest reputation rests. Words like bully, anarchist, dictator, racist, sexist, rogue, charlatan, liar, and even sociopath are used to paint a picture of the person who currently holds the nuclear codes in his possession.

Really all of those monikers, and the narratives that support their use are our collective unabashed attempt to grasp whatever the new reality might be now, and might be coming down the pipe in the near, medium and long-term future, as a consequence of the election of this person. We are individually and collectively frightened, anxious, scared out of our wits, to the point that, yesterday, for example, the DOW dropped 300 points, as only one of the indicators of our shared fear.

Trumpeting loyalty as the prized trait of the team, is another ruse designed to keep everyone, inside the administration, and outside, unbalanced, jittery, suspicious, and thereby much more easily controlled (especially for those in the inner circle).

Poetry and art depend upon a degree of latent or sometimes more overt tension in their composition, as a window on a new perception of reality. However, this tension, in order to be artful, needs to be both comprehensible and able to be assimilated into what we already know about the universe we already inhabit. Some artists take greater liberties with the conventions in which they create resulting in abstract art, multiple verse forms, a merging of ballet and gymnastics (Le Circle du Soleil, for example), and composers have for centuries stretched the boundaries of their various forms, sonata, concerto, tone poem, minuet, and also injected new instruments into their manuscripts and thereby into the performances of their work.

And while the world,( listener, observer, critic and student) all have their perceptions enhanced through the experience of what to the untrained eye/ear/sensibility might seem like chaos or non-sense, we keep paying attention in the relatively reasonable conviction that there must be some kind of “awe” awaiting our discovery.

As a species, however, we are remarkably resistant to changes in our perceptions especially of the “stability and security blankets” we have constructed as our way of generation predictable paths so we don’t have to re-invent the wheel, as it were.

This scribe does not anticipate the possibility that anyone will find something beautiful, remarkable or even positively memorable and awe-inspiring when the tomb of the trump presidency is opened several centuries hence. In fact, if anything, archeologists are more likely to find records that point to the most pathetic chapter in human history of a self-pitying victim, abused and decried by ‘the establishment, the media and the conventions of history and law’.

And anyone who thinks that the trump/bannon/brietbart/white supremacy vision of a new world bears any resemblance or connection to the chaos theory that draws the mathematical geniuses among us to work far into the night in search of the golden threads of beauty and meaning that have so far evaded human intellectual discovery.

If anything, their’s is such a regressive and dark trip into another version of Dante’s Inferno, and to think that Bannon once delivered a key-note address at the invitation of the Vatican! Does this speak volumes about The Holy See or about the darkest caves so far left unexplored by the most venal criminal minds?

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