Chaos and Complexity

—  the incompressible dynamics that drive “Creativity” and “Emergence”  —


Entropy Matrix 001

Chaos & Complexity are different manifestations of “Systems with High Information Entropy”, generated by “Incompressible Dynamics”…


“Thermodynamic Entropy” (or simply “Entropy”) is a measure of disorder, and “Information Entropy” is a measure of uncertainty or unpredictability.  This website is all about systems that have “Low Entropy, but High Information Entropy” (i.e. systems which can be considered to be highly organized but nevertheless unpredictable).

Complex Systems are systems that are characterized by the fact “the whole of the system is greater than the sum of its parts”.  Low entropy systems that have high information entropy are the characteristics of systems that have “self-designed” their own “emergent complexity”.

Emergent complexity is Mother Nature’s creativity in action.  “Self-designing Complexity” is the process by which evolution self-organizes everything into existence (and the higher the thing’s information entropy the more the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).

Chaos and Complexity are related.  Both are manifestations of “Spontaneous Creativity”.

Chaos and Complexity are different manifestations of systems with high resistance to information compression.  In the simplest possible terms, Chaos is “Creativity”, and Complexity is “Reinforced Creativity”…

Creativity Matrix 001

This website is all about “how the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts”.  This website is about the creative power of incompressible dynamics…


The Next Big Thing?

Early in the 1980’s there was a lot of enthusiasm about the “new” science of Chaos Theory.  Chaos appeared to be answering questions no one had ever previously thought to ask.

Many thought that Chaos Theory might be “The Next Big Thing”; if Relativity Theory and Quantum Theory were the sciences of the 20th century, then Chaos Theory and its cousin Complexity Theory were to be the sciences of the 21st century.

By the end of the 20th century however this enthusiasm had waned somewhat; and while Chaos may have provided some interesting insights into many different and diverse scientific disciplines, it most definitely failed to live up to, or even come close to, its initial high expectations.

The reason for the demise of Chaos was most likely because despite the vast quantity of articles and books written on the subject (and its many related cousins) there never materialized, from all this work, a clear and concise understanding of what Chaos Theory is actually all about.  And so over the last 15 or 20 years or so chaos theory has found itself pretty much relegated to the minor leagues of science, even to the point of being considered by some as nothing more than an “over-hyped mathematical curiosity”.

Incompressible Feedback

The demise of chaos theory has not been helped by it popular association with the so-called “Butterfly Effect”; which has merely served to perpetuate the perception that chaos theory is about unpredictable chaos (a misperception further reinforced by the theory’s name).

Moreover, chaos theory is often referred to as “nonlinear dynamics” which seems to imply that there is something not quite right about the dynamics of chaos.   The reason for this reference to nonlinearity is thanks to the science of physics.

Physics in general doesn’t like to deal with nonlinear dynamics because these dynamics are, for the most part, messy and  mathematically incompressible, and physics likes to isolated itself from messy and incompressible dynamics.

In truth however all dynamics are nonlinear, it is just that some dynamics are more nonlinear than others.  But for the last 350 years Physics has effectively concentrated solely on the nonlinear stuff that can be approximated by (or compressed to) linearity.

So when chaos theory first emerged, in the latter part of the 20th century, everyone focused on the wrong thing.  They focused on the nonlinearity and unpredictability of chaos and in doing so completely missed the real value; the opportunity to see how these messy nonlinear dynamics could in fact be revealing evidence of the creative power of incompressible “feedback”…

Emergence

This website will attempt to show that the death of Chaos has been greatly exaggerated.  This website will hopefully show that Chaos & Complexity are “the mathematics & physics of emergent evolution”.

Chaos & Complexity are all about “Emergence”.  Understanding emergence might be the most important understanding of all – because emergence appears to be the universal process by which all behaviours, all structures, all networks, all ecosystems, all cultures and economies, and maybe even all conscious awareness gets reinforced into existence


Simplifying Complexity

Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understanding it well enough”.  But he also said “make things as simple as possible but no simpler”.  So basically what he was saying is that really good science is about being able to “compress” and “simplify complexity”; it is essentially about being able to find and express the limit of information compression; being able to find and express a subject’s “Information Entropy”.

Unfortunately however, the information about most things is excessively nonlinear and cannot be compressed to equations, but this limitation does not mean that complexity cannot be otherwise simplified.

Mark Twain once said “If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter”.  The beauty of this famous quote is in its self-referential brevity and simplicity.  The point is very clear; brevity and simplicity are very hard to do.

This website is about “complexity simplified” (but without equations).  The contents of this website are as brief and concise and as compressed as possible.  These contents are, however, not a regurgitation of what you might have read elsewhere.  This website is not a compressed regurgitation of all the books written on chaos, complexity, emergence, fractals, adaptation, universality, etc etc (because frankly to-date the conversation on all of these topics has been confused and misdirected).  The contents of this website are original, and will not be like anything you have read before about Chaos & Complexity….


Postscript

This website is in a way self-referential.  This website is intended to be a “Complex Ecosystem of Information Entropy”; wherein every part is, as much as possible, distilled to its bare essence; and every part supports or reinforces (in some way) every other part; and as a result of this “interplay of maximum information entropy and mutual reinforcement”, hopefully what emerges is a “Complex Qualitative Whole that is greater than the Sum of its Parts”…