Chaos Theory

The basis for Chaos Theory is that the universe is uncertain, unpredictable, irrational, illogical, non-linear, problematic and complex: order within disorder.

Chaos theory is about

"...Tiny shifts in initial conditions have a critical effect on the final outcome of a chaotic system, and this applies as much to human behaviour as it does to the physical world. It is impossible to model our behaviour because there are too many factors involved...... explanation of a great deal of human behaviour is an extraordinarily complex process. It is the product of many different factors - instinctive, physiological, rational and emotional - and prediction becomes impossible..."

Robert Winston, 2002


"...This often renders previous experience and existing knowledge redundant and could be described as anti-intuitive, anti-historical and anti-experience. Complexity theory offers the ultimate experiential learning encounter..."

Paul Day, 2004

As Gil Sawford (1998) states:

"Chaotic systems display a repetitive pattern" ... The evolution of these systems is sensitive to initial conditions and to continuous small disturbances. Owing to the difficulty of stipulating precise initial conditions, their behaviour is unpredictable and random. Chaotic systems are deterministic ... When applied to non-linear feedback systems, Chaos can explain how variations in inputs and continuous small disturbances can quickly produce confounding variations in outcome. Accurate predictions are hard, if not impossible, to make as feedback loops magnify variations, taking the system to a state that we are unable to determine" ... The long-term future is not only unknown, it is unknowable, and the efficiency of long-term planning is delusive. The border between stability and instability is a compromise of both order and recurring disorder. This border is far from the equilibrium state of chaos where specific long-term outcomes are unknown. This can be represented graphically and shows the original shape of stability recurring over and over again. Humans are able to use this recurring patterns analogy by reflecting on experience and adapting to new situations. This allows us to create reasonably predictable short-term futures, and long-term futures that can be managed in an emergent way"


"...any organisation.....capacity to be creative and sustainable in today's unstable and crisis-riven world will have the characteristics of what chaos and complexity theory call 'complex adaptive systems..."

Danah Zohar, 2004


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