Chaos

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Thu Sep 28 07:24:31 MDT 1995


This is the second of two messages from Ron which I am forwarding to
the list.

Perhaps if anybody has any comments they can copy them to him as well
at

               anclondon at gn.apc.org   Ron Press


Chris B, London.


>>>>>>>>>

Hi.

I think that the value of a study of Chaos theory, that is, the application
of computers in the study of non-linear equations, fractals, emergence, and
the others aspects is that they are additive to our understanding.

In particular. Marxists and in particular the early ones and the so called
Stalinists, were brought up in an atmosphere of the mechanical view of the
world. The universe was structured as consisting of things which were inter
active with other things in a cause and effect relationship. Marx started to
break this mold. But he was a child of his time. Relativity, quantum
mechanics, the origins of life, the study of the mind and the brain etc.
These things were either unknown or in their infancy.

The whole atmosphere of Marxism was that just as night followed day
socialism followed capitalism. Just as a bullet flew from A to B so it was
with society.

To the mechanics of Newton has been had been added the relativity of
Einstein, This does not mean that Newton was wrong but that he was
incomplete. The addition of "Chaos" to Marx is similar.

The bullet of society does not fly from A to B. It is much more complex.
More complex even than Marx envisaged.

Some specifics.

The question of linear and non-linear maths is but one small very specific
part of the new views of the world. Computers have allowed us to handle the
maths. In so doing the parallels between society and the more complex
non-linear maths has been shown to be a better match that with linear maths.

>"Chaos theory is virtually inconceivable except in a world of computers."
This is an exageration. The use of computers does not make it materialist.
God could equally be proved by computation?

>" I confess my bias that chaos theory
>is "more scientific" than 19th century dialectics. I will therefore
>address Jerry's question by rephrasing it to ask, if chaos theory
>is now accepted as a recognised part of science, does this explain
>anything about the workings of the universe that illuminates why 19th
>century dialectics approached questions the way it does?"
Dialectics is a merhod which is applicable to many domains of human endevour
but that does not mean it applies everywhere. Chaos theory likewise. In
certain domains both apply. In some domains they might contradict eachother.
I cannot think of an example of a contradiction.

Economics is a highly interactive system. There are many feedback loops both
positive and negative. A set of linear equations cannot hope to model it.
There is little hope for any maths to model it frankly.

Thats all for now.

Hope I helped

Ron.


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