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Explanation via Chaos (Part 3)

SERIES: Explanation via Chaos
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


High Anxieties: The Mathematics of Chaos This TV programme was an attempt to explain away the Bank Crisis of October 2008 without apportioning any blame. The culprit had to be established as the natural tendency towards chaos in our trusted extracted relations. This was urgent in a context when many others knew precisely who to blame. The problem was to divert such blame away, a team of experts had to be assembled who could effectively carry out this vitally necessary diversion.

At the same time this author had to debunk their apologia and redirect blame to where it clearly should reside. The narrator of High Anxieties goes all the way back to Newton and the Scientific Method to find the answers, but in the process misses the crucial flaw in that method which dated from then. Instead of revealing the limitation of plurality-inspired extractions from Reality, which explain a great deal, the team instead blamed "the natural tendency" of all laws to subside into Chaos without warning. This team's remit becomes crystal clear. It is all our own fault for accepting the validity of extracted law, but, of course, this is untrue! It is clearly THEIR and THEIR COLLEAGUES fault - not ours! Sensitivity to initial conditions was indeed slowly realised, and the pessimism of this team is of that ilk which presses everyone to "give up now you'll never do it!" Indeed, their thesis is encapsulated in Ruelle's assertion that the "combatants in the First World War were not fighting each other... but the Chaos of Reality". Even the self-inflicted demise of Alexander Niapolov in Russia is put down to the inevitability of Chaos in his researches, whereas I'm clear that he topped himself because of the impending success of the Bolshevik Revolution.

An included expert in such matters defines Stability and Instability using models of Hills, Valleys and Smooth, Round Balls, but nevertheless adds nothing of value. The problem is clearly ignorance of Emergence displayed by the whole team. All these experts seemed wholly unaware of the route by which Emergence was grounded as being real. It included Geology, Hegel and the Theory of Evolution, but they had never however thought it necessary to address such events as relevant to their remit.

But slowly, other strands were confirming this change. From Michelet's Historical Materialism, to the new materialists around Karl Marx, a new synthesis was indeed possible. Yet our established thinkers did not consider these ideas. They rushed to the computer as "enabling technology" which could decide whether Laplacian determinism was correct or not, and if not, why not!?
But this was almost immediately scuppered by Ed Lorentz with his clear revelation of sensitivity to Initial conditions in turbulence. Though most saw his work as undermining the whole agreed methodology, others sought refuge in Random Noise. Even this proved fallacious. The whole pluralist method forced many relevant factors into the category of ignorable background Noise. But, sadly for them, these proved to be the very elements which undermined ALL pluralist-derived equations.

Yet the clear direction of study implied by all of this was not undertaken. Interestingly, the makers of this programme include visual identification of formulae which very easily descend into Chaos, without dealing with them in the narrative or in any other way in the programme. In this equation and its analysis lie the seeds of Chaos, but it is not addressed at all. The culprit in computers is surely the numerical methods used in finding solutions, but they are not mentioned either. The overall conclusions are pessimistic and not attributable to any perpetrators. In spite of the actual case of a successfully directed Revolution in Russia, no-one utters a single word about it. In the end it is concluded to be OUR OWN FAULT, we trusted these equations. We pumped up generally stable situations into unstable ones, and we could do no other because we cannot predict such things.


1. We start with a “health warning” against those who deliver such an apology for the perpetrators of this global crash.

2. Contributor Omerod includes us all along with the guity. Yet the truth is clearly about Them and Us!

3. The psychiatrist in the team clearly includes Us in the same Dreads and Purposes of Them..

4. The whole team concurs. The chorus is how We (and that includes You) “kidded ourselves”. But as soon as you realise who it is they are actually speaking for, the clearer becomes their role

5. The myth of Laplace is exhumed and posited upon Us as well as Them.Ruelle accuses us all of believing that maths was capable of accurately and safely predicting Everything.

6. But Mathematics is a form of description and NOT an explanation driving Reality. That is Idealism and NOT the position of most of Us.

7. The old problem of the 3 body case in Newtonian Celestial Mechanics is resurrected to once again expose Our(?) false belief in mathematics.

8. But from Poincare onwards the seeds of collapse are revealed with a slow realization that Chaos, caused by sensitivity to initial conditions could render many equations false. Is this group of experts saying what I think they are saying – “Give up now you’ll never do it”?

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