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Home  >  A guide to an enigma

A guide to an enigma

Nature presents us with many enigmas. Only recently in our history have we begun to unravel some of them, and there is a long way to go yet.

A major part of the challenge comes from the fact that most of the events we are witnessing (and many we don't see, yet are influenced by them anyway) are folded into a black box with layers upon layers of detail and just about all of it hidden.

Why is it hidden, how does something so proliferous camouflage itself? It's because there is so much of it, and altogether that multitude functions in a way that makes the whole tremendously difficult to understand. It becomes a case of not seeing the wood for the trees.

We are dealing with nonlinearity. A phenomenon where each element is interconnected with all the rest to such an extent that the overall result hardly bears any semblance to the detail without which the whole would not be what it is in the first place.

This is a guide into that mysterious world.

Nonlinearity is about complex, dynamic systems; it is about chaos. To understand its nature it is necessary to grasp the principles, the laws that govern such systems. It may seem difficult at first, but that's because for most of our history (indeed, for most of our personal history) we have become used to seeing things in a linear fashion.

The math behind chaotic behaviour can be challenging. But relax: this guide explains the behaviour in a functional sense, which allows us to understand its principles on an intuitive level.

It is a matter of shifting one's perspective. Once that has been accomplished (and it won't take long at all) anything performing in front of our eyes will be just as obvious as seeing a cyclist pushing the pedals and recognising the turning wheels as a consequence.

Nevertheless, the mind needs to be prepared to deal with the wider picture before the new perspective can be employed.

Hence the guide comes in four parts. The first is a test to ensure the newcomer is mentally prepared for what is to come. Part 2 is a general introduction to chaos, leaving aside the math. Part 3 and 4 each contain a link to a page on this website which in turn connects to interactive computer programs that allow the user to observe the principles at work. After a short while (which hopefully should be lots of fun!) the newly-gained perspective falls into place and the world will be seen with new eyes. It is a skill shared by only a few on this planet. They are mainly meteorologists, aero- and hydrodynamic engineers, and some biologists. The way events are described in those areas point to the understanding behind them, but outside of those the expressions lack the references one would expect.

Part 1
The mind test may seem utterly trivial, but is it?

Part 2:
The mechanics of chaos: a primer for the human mind. What is chaos; what is meant by complexity; how does it relate to the human mind.

Part 3:
CauseF program. Interact with the squares in a grid, with spheres zipping around on a plane, with virtual planets as they orbit a virtual sun. Observe how impossible it is to foresee their behaviour when changing the input from the outside.

Part 4:
OCTAM, an artificial mind model. Constructed along the lines of nonlinearity the user interacts with the program via web cam and microphone, and its output are visuals on the screen and sound from the speakers.

Nonlinearity is everywhere. Enjoy!


© Martin Wurzinger - see Terms of Use