In the beginning, chaos.
Greek mythology says chaos came first and may have birthed the first gods. The TaNaK describes chaos as the preexisting dark, empty surface of the deep. Roman literature calls it the undeveloped mass that came before the earth, while German lit says creation followed the chaos god’s defeat at chaoskampf. Astrophysicists even believe in a chaotic creation they call the Big Bang.
You can place your faith in religion or science, but we’re all children of chaos, and it continues to raise us.
If a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane in Texas, what is the measure of change that our chaos can cause? Chaos theory suggests the future is not beholden to what the past says should happen. Rather, even minor disruptions to our hyper-sensitive existence can lead to dramatically different outcomes.
Where does chaos thrive? As a tech term that spread to other fields, the “edge of chaos” is the critical transition point between order and chaos where the edge sparks adaptation, evolution and creativity. Just as the fitness of organisms evolve in chaotic environments, a stable equilibrium often equals death, or at least a measure of stagnation that leads to rot.
The term cosmos implies order and chaos disorder, and the social world is torn between the two in what one researcher calls the “chaosmos.” How do you choose to live your life inside the chaosmos?
Many choose to spend their days clawing their way toward some semblance of stability. Some even demand order and try to force it on others through religion, fascism and discrimination. These people don’t know adaptation, only a false sense of equilibrium.
A few choose instead to engage chaos. Beyond the illusion of stability is the reality that life is a mess, but the edge of chaos is where you challenge what it means to be happy and find new ways to manifest dreams and flap your wings against unacceptable forms of control.
Whether life emerged from a chaotic bang or a formless void, entropy says we’re all barreling back toward total chaos. Fuck it. Let’s surf the edge.