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Philosophical Chaos

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Not quite weekly, turns out the way I will be blogging will be on no consistent level, a chaotic one as it were.

That’s the second time chaos has come up in one of my posts, last week I referred to myself as ‘an advocate of chaos’ and its a concept I have been thinking about for some time, transposing it mathematically, scientifically and philosophically whilst looking for chaos in the threads of everyday life. Of course titling oneself as an ‘advocate’ doesn’t really do much except applying your name to the general definition of what is a vague word at best. Chaos can mean a number of things.

I first came across the concept in A level maths lessons when looking at functions. Having spent the past two years drinking the less vital parts of my brain away and focussing my efforts on a drama degree I forget the specifics of the lesson, something to do with the Ran# button on the calculator, but I remember the idea of the function with an increasing number of solutions. For the first set of values the function had one solution until it got to a point when it suddenly had 2. Pushing the function up higher the solutions doubled again, and again, and again until the number of solutions became infinite and I had seen, for the first time, mathematical chaos.

This is essentially the building block upon which all other chaos is built, something starting in order and resulting in unpredicted outcomes. I had not imagined at the time that a problem could herald infinite solutions in the same way that the numbers must have felt trundling along at a steady rate with just the one answer. It goes on towards chaos theory in science which looks at the inexplicable and disordered Universe and tries to bring logic to the storm. Even the butterfly effect is a biproduct of chaos, the small change at the beginning of the timeline like a butterfly flapping its wings can have astronomical ramifications which, as more variables are added, become impossible to predict, become chaotic.

Still, this doesn’t explain my advocation of chaos. I’m a logical human being, an artist yes but one who puts his faith in science and rationality so why should I look at this disorder and declare my advocacy? Well, recent events have transpired over the past few months, events I’d rather not go into, which have changed the complete topography of my life and were also events that I never thought would happen. For a while I was distraught, trying to explain and rationalise, trying to plan my next move and trying desperately to figure out what would happen next but then I realised something. If I predicted this would never happen and yet it did then why am I trying to predict now? The fact of the matter is, no matter how much you try to predict the outcome of things, it is absolutely impossible to predict every conceivable situation you will find yourself and so the act of planning for it becomes increasingly illogical. One formula – infinite solutions. Never say never.

So that is how I decided to advocate chaos, whatever happens next happens and that is that, whatever is plausible is, by definition, possible regardless of the odds. The way I see it, the whole thing fits in quite nicely with nihilism and hedonism too, although I do still have a dissertation to write.

Thanks for reading, hopefully if anybody’s reading in a rational existentialist crisis you can look at this and think maybe it’s time to let go and leave the outcomes up to chaos.

Nick

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Categories: Philosophy Tags: , , ,

Holden Caulfield

August 25, 2010 1 comment

Hi blogosphere, remember me?

I shouldn’t think you do, I had a blog between around August 2008 and May 2009, during which time I couldn’t have blogged more than about 8 times. It was, shall we say, pretty inconsequential.

The main problem with the blog was its pervasive focus upon my life, more specifically my life with my then girlfriend, now complicated ex. When the relationship collapsed the blog became little more than a painful reminder, a eulogy that I had to push into the back of my mind so that I could move on. Resultantly, it died, and nothing has been written there for over a year.

Recently whilst looking over some of the books I’ve read over the past few years I stopped upon J.D. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and, flicking to the back page, I found Holden Caulfield’s immortal final sentiment:

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”

The philosophy comes at the end of a long story of Caulfield’s attempt to ‘find himself’, as it were after leaving school and running away to New York, during which time his isolation and misanthropy become torments as he finds himself failing to function in the real world with all its ‘phonies’ (one of Caulfield’s favourite cynical sentiments). Throughout the narrative Caulfield is despondant, cynical, misanthropic, alienated, confused and, at times like this, an absolute genius.

Taking the sentiment to heart, I’m making a decision that this blog will ultimately be about my views and not my life. The moment I begin to talk about the people around me, the ones I’ve lost and the ones I love, I’ll miss them and the entire mood will shift from that of an intelligent adult capable of rational thought to the endearing ramblings of a troubled teen on a train to New York. Eventually I may find this blog honouring those I’d rather forget or denouncing those I’d rather forgive.

As an advocate of chaos I can’t promise that things will never be mentioned, just like I can’t promise I won’t lay in front of the laptop at 3am after 8 pints of lager and an emotional argument, finger hovering over the ‘post’ button next to some self-destructing rant about the evils of the human species with reference to one or two specific individuals. However I would hope that this blog will largely contain my thoughts on current affairs, politics, art, music, culture, society and will not be a narcissistic diary of my week’s accomplishments for the veneration of the internet community.

I don’t claim my views to be any more valid than anybody else’s, they are just my views and I am perfectly willing to hold them up to rational debate.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy the show

Nick.