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Order Out of Chaos? (Part 4) Holistic Chaos

SERIES: Order Out of Chaos?
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


These papers attempt a pair of objectives. First, they see the need to deal with the claims of Mathematical Chaos (and its derivatives and developments) as are now very frequently put forward as THE means of understanding what are termed as Emergences. And second, they must attempt to re-direct our attention away from Randomness (All at once, equally) and Plurality (The Whole and the Part) to a new, more-real and indeed holistic approach, which will give all our scientific attention to a study of the nature and dynamics of the real qualitative changes, that reach positively revolutionary climaxes in actual Emergences – characterised most crucially by the most important one of all, and that which is the true measure of all such Events – the Origin of Life on Earth.

These papers commenced in 2008, and do NOT represent where the author’s current position is, but they were nonetheless an essential preparation for meaningful delivery of subsequent research, and hence an appropriate introduction for those new to these ideas.

The author has recently written a brief introduction to the series along with two addendum papers, which do indicate in which direction this work is now proceeding. The fullest now consists of:-

Order Out of Chaos: Introduction (see Blog)
I Order Out of Chaos: Emergent Change
II Order Out of Chaos: The Elements of Change
III Order Out of Chaos: Addendum
IV Order Out of Chaos: Holistic Change

These will commence in this current issue and continue over the following issues. Thereafter, further Papers on the same topic will regularly follow.

1. The source of many difficulties is situated in our basic assumptions about the nature of Reality, as initially revealed by Zeno in his famous Paradoxes. Both Continuity and Descreteness are very useful constructs to help us deal with aspects of Reality, but both clearly fail when taken to the limit. They are pragmatic constructs and do not reflect the full nature of Reality, though they approximate to it in certain circumstances. The very fact that these seeming alternatives both fail reveals that neither is the actual case.

2. But, as we commence to tackle today’s “crucial questions” with the illustrious Large Hadron Collider, we must ask, “What have we been doing to arrive at this “telling” position in our view of, and approach to, Reality?” We certainly continued to go forward. How did we manage it with NO sound basic assumption involved?

3. The answer is that we invented Plurality! We divided the World into separate Wholes and their constituent Parts, and studied these, descending down through level after level, seeking the final, and hence final, bases of Reality. But Mankind also did much more than that. He found out how to ”reform” sections of Reality so that they conformed to his assumptions.

4. Real progress was only possible if most aspects of Reality in a given limited situation were held constant, and the situation continuously maintained in that state, so that previously only-glimpsed relations could be both clearly seen and easily extracted. We had learned to set up Domains – wherein Plurality was true!

5. Then these Domains not only provided ideal conditions for the extraction of such relations, but also for their effective and reliable use – they were also Domains of Applicability.

6. The “solution” to the many seemingly unavoidable “dead ends” delivered by both our basic alternative assumptions, was to by-pass them by dividing Reality into these separate Domains, which if steadfastly maintained, delivered both relations and their reliable use.

7. But, as we overlaid Reality-as-is with our pluralist pavings, we did NOT advance in our basic understanding at all, and this vital lack would again surface in many increasingly dangerous ways.

8. About the same period in History as Zeno, there existed in India a holy man they called the Buddha, who put forward a very different view of the World. He saw everything as interconnected and mutually-affecting, which is the opposite of plurality and termed Holism. The religious seeking of Nirvana, however, could not conquer the physical World. That, on the contrary, seemed to show that such an objective was totally impossible. But, there can be no doubt, however, that it did indeed reflect how Reality really is.

9. So, we had another and difficult dichotomy to address! Plurality could deliver, control and use, but only Holism delivered the full nature of Reality. How could we have both?

10. What was required was to turn the holist view of Reality away from its purely mankind-centred approach, to equip us to deal with Reality in general. We would not abandon pragmatic plurality, but we would have to treat it for what it is – a pragmatic methodology for achieving desired ends, but NEVER as the basis for understanding the real World. That must be the task of a new Scientific Holism.

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