Managing Chaos

This is a test we must pass if we are to survive

Mike Meyer

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By Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ December 1, 2019

Chaos is not the absence of order in our universe but the limitless diversity of order. At the practical human level chaos may best be considered as the order that is too complex for us to understand. The abandonment of the effort at that understanding directly affects our response to the management of chaotic situations and environments.

This is, perhaps, best illustrated by the problem of random numbers. There are many information processing situations, encryption and data security is the most common, that require random numbers. But a random number list is a very difficult thing to achieve. In fact, most such lists are pseudo-random numbers.

The universe and all components of it are information. This realization is the result of thousands of years of discovery and growing understanding. For almost all of our history, the pretense of random numbers was adequate. Fortune telling, entwined in our perception of the universe since the inception of language, relies on randomization to allow the future to be seen and those patterns to be interpreted.

We are pattern creating and matching beings. The evolution of language was our effort to impose order on the universe. This is the ultimate magic. Our earliest efforts were pictures that identified patterns in our hands and our surroundings. Even at 40,000 years ago these images leap out at us with comprehension and understanding.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41964466

But we have always understood or been unable to forget that our patterns may not be real. They are an interpretation and the images lie just as words are inadequate to describe the complexity of our universe. That is the concurrent link to randomness to allow the universe to speak to us with patterns that we have not created.

In its oldest form, this required any random pattern from entrails to stars slowly evolving to more sophisticated randomization with yarrow sticks tossed to provide links to hexagrams in the I Ching. The evolution of playing cards is the other line of development…

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Mike Meyer

Writer, Educator, Campus CIO (retired) . Essays on our changing reality here, news and more at https://rlandok.substack.com/