cha·os the·o·ry (noun)
the branch of mathematics that deals with complex systems whose behavior is highly sensitive to slight changes in conditions, so that small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences.
“Remember Jurassic Park? Handsome mathematician Doctor Malcom explaining to pretty Doctor Sattler why he thought it was unwise to have T-rexes and the likes romping around on an island? John Hammond, the annoying owner, promised that nothing could go wrong and that all precautions were taken to ensure the safety of visitors.
Dr. Malcom did not agree. “Life finds a way,” he said.
Nature is highly complex, and the only prediction you can make is that she is unpredictable. The amazing unpredictability of nature is what Chaos Theory looks at. Why? Because in stead of being boring and translucent, nature is marvelous and mysterious. And Chaos Theory has managed to somewhat capture the beauty of the unpredictable and display it in the most awesome patterns. Nature, when looked upon with the right kind of eyes, presents herself as one of the most fabulous works of art ever wrought.
What is Chaos Theory?
Chaos Theory is a mathematical sub-discipline that studies complex systems. Examples of these complex systems that Chaos Theory helped fathom are earth’s weather system, the behavior of water boiling on a stove, migratory patterns of birds, or the spread of vegetation across a continent. Chaos is everywhere, from nature’s most intimate considerations to art of any kind. Chaos-based graphics show up all the time, wherever flocks of little space ships sweep across the movie screen in highly complex ways, or awesome landscapes adorn the theater of some dramatic Oscar scene.
Complex systems are systems that contain so much motion (so many elements that move) that computers are required to calculate all the various possibilities. That is why Chaos Theory could not have emerged before the second half of the 20th century.
But there is another reason that Chaos Theory was born so recently, and that is the Quantum Mechanical Revolution and how it ended the deterministic era!
Up to the Quantum Mechanical Revolution people believed that things were directly caused by other things, that what went up had to come down, and that if only we could catch and tag every particle in the universe we could predict events from then on. Entire governments and systems of belief were (and, sadly, are still) founded on these beliefs, and when Sigmund Freud invented psychoanalysis, he headed out from the idea that malfunctions in the mind are the results of traumas suffered in the past. Regression would allow the patient to stroll down memory lane, pinpoint the sore spot and rub it away with Freud’s healing techniques that were again based on linear cause and effect.
Chaos Theory however taught us that nature most often works in patterns, which are caused by the sum of many tiny pulses.
How Chaos Theory was born and why
It all started to dawn on people when in 1960 a man named Edward Lorenz created a weather-model on his computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lorentz’ weather model consisted of an extensive array of complex formulas that kicked numbers around like an old pig skin. Clouds rose and winds blew, heat scourged or cold came creeping up the breeches………..”