The Chaos Theory


Nature is mostly attributed with motherly instincts. A picture that portrays serene order. But in actuality, is nature really orderly? Nature is supposed to maintain a delicate balance. Once the scale tips in the least, chaos is unleashed.

The state of nature is essentially chaotic, where, according to Thomas Hobbes, every man is in a war against every other man. Man reigns in order through the social contract. The order is established in the society through mutual obligation. When this mutual obligation is misinterpreted and misused, the orderly state no longer remains. There is mutual understanding not only between one man and an another but also between man and nature. And when man overburdens nature, nature, in turn, reacts against the human actions. The perfect example would be most natural disasters. Even the slightest tilt of the balanced state, unforeseen consequences prevail. And this is where the Chaos Theory comes into the picture. Chaos is the study of order within a system that exhibits apparent randomness. Chaos theory states that, under certain conditions, ordered, regular patterns can be seen to arise out of random, erratic and turbulent processes. The most commonly accepted theory under the study of Chaos is known as the Butterfly Effect. This is the concept where small causes can have large effects. While this phenomenon was discovered by Edward Lorenz, arguably one can say that Aristotle was aware of something similar. He observed that “the least deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Small offences against nature result in a chaotic outcome when nature’s tolerance is breached.

History is proof of the fact that order and chaos form a vicious cycle. The Middle Ages, which was arguably one of the darkest phases of European history ended with the Bubonic Plague. What followed was a cleansing revival- the Renaissance and Reformation. This oscillation between the two states can be better understood by Marx’s concept of dialectical materialism. Fredrick Engels, Karl Marx’s fellow writes on Dialectics of Nature , “ It is an eternal cycle in which matter moves, a cycle that certainly only completes its orbit in periods of time for which our terrestrial year is no adequate measure, a cycle in which the time of highest development, the time of organic life of being conscious of nature and of themselves is just as narrowly restricted as the space in which life and self-consciousness come into operation. A cycle in which every finite mode of existence of matter, whether it be sun or nebular vapour, single animal or genus of animals, chemical combination or disassociation, is equally transient, and wherein nothing is eternal but eternally changing, eternally moving matter and the laws according to which it moves and changes.” Order prevails in a society until a catalyst arises, sending the orderly nature spinning into oblivion. An immediate onslaught, chaos ensues until the establishment of a new order. And the eternal cycle this continues from one order to another, chaos being an intercession.

Humanity thrives on the premise that order prevails as a result of deliberate intentions hence our constant urge to be its de facto custodians. However, order predates human existence and is a preserve for a higher power. The defiance of this natural law, though providing a short-term solution has catastrophic consequences in the long term. It is without saying that one does not jeopardise nature’s delicate balance. For even in chaos and turmoil, an order will always prevail buttressing the proposition that order exists in disorder. All living organisms are guided by unwritten laws, which provide guidance and natural order even for the animals in the jungle. It is this order that prevents self-harm and obliteration of our entire race thereby protecting us from extinction.Organised chaos is a theory, which is applicable to business, politics and life. It allows for the best ideas to flourish by promoting antagonising between parties to birth superior ideologies, which are often suppressed to satisfy the majority. The critics further state that the benefits of organised chaos are outweighed by its proliferation of anarchy and lawlessness. However, this refers to chaos which is the first thought that organised chaos invokes. Organisation chaos is aimed at promoting a freewheeling approach as opposed to the heavy hand with which order is accompanied by. It recognises the fact that most organisms including human beings thrive when they are allowed to set their own norms, not by written, but by unspoken law.

Perhaps Nature’s greatest, and least understood, paradox is that she is both ordered and chaotic. This paradox represents the core reason why man cannot predict or control Nature.

Article contributed by:

Tanisha Sudarshan

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