Encyclopedia of World Problems

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title:4.4 Self-organization and its catalysts

The progression in the previous note to a more dynamic interactive relationship with the surface on which the elements of significance are configured appears to reach close to a stage at which chaos theory insights emerged. The Belousov-Zhabotinsky chemical reactions result in the spontaneous emergence of patterning in the film of fluid in which they take place. From this arose some of the insights into the principles of self-organization. Perhaps a more evocative example is the standing wave Chladni patterns generated by vibrating a sheet of metal covered in sand (Waller, 1961).


title:4.3 Comprehending the complexity of the value surface

Perhaps the great merit of chaos theory is its ability to orient understanding to respond creatively to complexity. As such it is a tool to counter-balance the simplistic efforts of the many honourable initiatives to come up with a set of values applicable to all in a complex, multi-cultural society subject to a wide variety of pressures. These often result in a construction as inappropriate as a horse-and-buggy in a down-town traffic jam, however elegant it may appear.



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