Monday, March 12, 2007

Chaos and Order

One of the things I did to help me think about the topics I write about here was to make a two-column list. Everything consistent with my philosophy is on one side, everything opposite of it is on the other. This helped me relate certain ideas. As I made this list, I had to figure out which side these two words go on: Chaos, and Order.

They're just not on the list. But some of the things I realized as I thought about it did make the list.

Reality is guided by certain laws. We call these "the laws of physics" among others. These laws create a kind of order to things which does not have to be imposed. It just happens on it's own. It is not because people said "We need to force matter to congregate in an orderly fashion to create distinct objects" that we have distinct objects. The universe, clouds and clusters of galaxies, galaxies, galactic structure, solar systems, planets, moons, asteroids, this order did not come about because it was imposed upon reality. It simply became. Intelligent Designer not required, batteries not included.

Perhaps I'm using this word out of context, but I want to use the word "Emergent" to describe it. The universe as it exists today is the result of the natural order of things. It is the result of individual particles behaving according to their nature.

To some, the universe may seem chaotic. They may think it requires some rearranging to be more orderly. Assuming they had the means to do this, they might for example, place all particles 1 mm apart from every other particle in a tesselating tetrahedral formation, grouped three-dimensionally according to the particle's mass, charge, and spin. The universe would then be more "orderly". But the very moment the laws of physics had to once again be applied, the particles would be organized in a way incompatible with their nature. Particles would attract and form new particles, force other particles away, et cetera. This perfectly orderly universe quickly would become a violent soup of subatomic annihilations and decays. The Intelligent Designer here may have been able to somehow force the universe to be orderly. But one thing no Intelligent Designer can do is change the laws of physics which guide the behavior of these particles.

The same principle applies to people. To some, the free market may appear a turbulent and choatic way of doing things. They can attempt economic control, but they cannot for example, repeal the law of supply and demand. While it might be possible for them to force reality to be a certain way, they cannot rewrite the inherent laws of nature which caused it to behave differently in the first place.

When you force order, you create chaos.

When you permit chaos, reality will give you a sorted order.

Design - Order degrades into chaos.

Emergence - Chaos sorts itself into order.


Blogger Dr. Lenny said...

one of my favorite topics. there is nothing to like or dislike, they exist. a striking form of acknowledgement is dungeons and dragons use of lawful and chaotic forms of good and evil. It gave role playing a feeling of being there. After the hinterfix of the jabberwocky, role playing may take on some survival aspects.

neat post

5:03 PM  

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