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Lesson Plans

Re: Uncertainty...

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Sat, 28 Jun 1997 08:05:09 -0700 (MST)

It's been a while... and I thought at one point that I had already sent most
of this off to Numo. I find it now amidst a file of postponed mail and
wonder. I added another few lines and so I guess I'll send it on th the list.

> henry,
> The uncertainty rollercoaster ride sounds "alive" with excitement.

It always is. I always wonder after one of my longer posts if I have said
something reasonable. <G> I'm never certain about the response.
Fortunately most of the flames have been off list and not generally too
vitriolic. ;)

> What about chaos?

I have my personal doubts regarding the "reality" of chaos. I suspect that
chaos is only a generalization for patterns too complex and of too fine a
grain to perceive at the moment. ...the human mind is pretty limited for
the purposes of juggling ideas and patterns (at least mine is). It always
seems that if I could just fit a few more things into the pattern things
would make a lot more sense. Sometimes I can almost imagine...

"Jungle" is a word for a herbologeous (?) chaos... for locations
where plant life begins to appear chaoticly wild and incomprehensible. In
a jungle, anything can happen, and, when it does it's probably going to be
"dangerous". "Rainforest" or "cloud forest" seem a bit more manageable.
The connection with more familiar things in our experience such as
forest, rain, or cloud, suggests we already know a bit of what's going on
and with that to cling to we can begin to look for other patterns and
relationships that don't come as easily to encounters with "jungles".

Chaos has a realtionship to fear as well. One can have fears or one can
have concerns. Having a fear suggests the possibility that useful answers
may be just a bit beyond our reach or understanding. Consider the phrase
"unreasoned fear". Having a concern suggests that we are better prepared
to deal with the object of our concern. Dealing with concerns is
possible. A trivial concern can be dropped, trivial fears can nag at us.

With chaos now having mathematical and scientific status it seems to have
lost some of its fearful cache... at least for some people. Having a
chaotic mind may or may NOT be a "bad" thing. A pattern probably exists
behind or under the chaos. What that pattern is may be uncertain, but it
can still provide support. It makes some forms of risk taking easier; in
particular, intellectual risks.

It becomes like walking a tightrope or a rope bridge in the mist. You cannot
see the supports at either end but you can see enough to proceed. Real
life is like that. One never has all the information that would be
useful. The use of "pure reason" relies on given states, IF this then that.
Everything is tidy and we can pretend to have justification and proceed
with confidence... perhaps overconfidence. Walking that misty line
requires that we be prepared for news of variance, uncertainty again.

There both strengths and weaknesses to a nice tight world of logic. But
the "real world" isn't that tightly woven. We have to live within chaotic
patterns. Sometimes I begin the consider the possibility that it might
also be useful to think in them as well.

I think that this is and has been part of the artists mode of thought for
a very long time now. Part of the artists ability to diverge, to appear to
originate or to create. Part of taking risks that do not appear to be safe
or reasonable. Nothing "wrong" with reason or logic, mind you. It's just
that there can be more possibilities than are dreamt of in reasonable,
wholely logical, philosophies