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Strange Attractors

Strange attractors Edward Lorenz was among the first to create a portrait of a quantum system. Through his work trying to predict the behavior of simple weather patterns, Lorenz demonstrated three significant attributes of every quantum system.

Strange Attractor Patterns, Chaos Theory and Change | Shark Free Waters

First, his diagram showed that complex systems are sensitive to initial conditions input influences output. Second while individual outcomes or events cannot be predicted with certainty, all outcomes would fall within predictable parameters. From these first two points, a third important attribute became clear, namely, that while the outcome of one event may not be precisely knowable, complex systems will, over time, self—organize into surprisingly stable, and even beautiful, patterns. These self-similar structures are called fractals. Sometimes, fractals are nested like Russian dolls.

In other instances, they line up or spread out in patterns like sodium or other crystals after the water has evaporated.

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Fern fronds are fractals because the basic fern shape is the same whether you are looking at the whole frond or at one of the leaves on its stem. Strange attractors ensure that while each individual specimen is unique, snowflakes look like snowflakes, and that broccoli florets, oak trees, and maple leaves consist of self—similar and repeating fractal patterns. For the prospective conflict manager, the moment of entering the system arrives with the first telephone call, email, or casual conversation.

Because any observer will help to shape what he or she can see by choosing what they will measure, conflict managers begin to influence a system with the first questions they ask about the nature of the problem. Some are capable of deconstructing the present social, political, economic, or cultural environment to make room for change. Good instincts, however, are not the only way conflict managers can learn to see important patterns.

Self—organization is foundational to chaos theory. Physicists devote considerable energy to the question of how systems take on the shapes that they have, and note just how durable those patterns of organization are when they arise.

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What physicists are able to prove time and again is that unless the fundamental forces—or strange attractors—are shifted or transformed in some way, the system is unlikely to change. Mediators, facilitators and other conflict managers regularly experience instances where the people and organizations they work with may appear to have changed their patterns of communication or behavior—only to learn later that the good intentions and apparent consensus had evaporated, or receded far into the background.

Whole communities shocked and displaced by natural disasters like fire, landslides, earthquakes, and hurricanes are often no different. Once the disaster has passed, these same communities typically rebuild on the same cliffs, landscape with similarly fire-prone plants, and reconstruct housing, commercial, and industrial developments along the most active fault lines or within the reach of seasonal hurricanes. Just as physicists know that chaotic systems will stabilize into predictable patterns unless the strange attractor has changed, conflict managers know that it is not enough to wish to change. Human relationships and social systems cannot accomplish lasting change without a significant shift in the underlying forces that perpetuate undesirable, dysfunctional, or destructive behavior.

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Because people have choices they can make, and individuals differ one from another even when they share underlying interests the outcomes of a particular intervention cannot be predicted with certainty, but they can often be predicted to fall within expected parameters. Relying on the principles articulated in these theories, he encourages change agents to begin their interventions by asking: What are the significant loops patterns defining the system?

Are there principle subsystems or nested loops that add to an inability to change?

Nonlinear Dynamics & Chaos

What are the generative forces that underlie the inability to change? Where is the best place to intervene? Are there manageable initiatives that can be undertaken now? Just as it is important to see the most obvious system patterns, it is critical to search until you can find the forces that make the pattern durable.

It is not enough to see that there are entrenched patterns of conflict. It is more important to notice the patterns within the conflict. Once identified, these patterns shed light on the underlying forces that must be redirected if the system is to change in any meaningful way. Many complex systems oscillate between stable and chaotic states. In fact, it is the disorganization associated with chaos that often provides the most fertile ground for instituting new initiatives or behaviors. A pot of water that is gradually heated becomes so intensely agitated by the air boiling away from the heat source, that the water is vaporized.

The imminent collapse of a corporate giant can sometimes be the very catalyzing force required to allow a complete restructuring of its business practices, and therefore, a reinvigoration of its presence in the world market.

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Against a chaotic backdrop, new ideas, behaviors and practices can become the strange attractors that help to galvanize new relationships and embed new operating norms. Since we can only take in so much information at once, and we can commit even less of this to actually storage memory - our subconscious and conscious selection of information attention are what actually build and maintain our thoughts and subsequently, our feelings and moods, and finally our experience of Self.

Scientists now believe that brain activity falls in line with Chaos Theory which is well-known for describing complex weather patterns, i. It makes sense that these would mirror each other, because every pattern outside environment is only projected from inside brain.

Focusing in on happy feeling-states builds momentum to create more of the same and draws energetic resources away from the construction or maintenance of any neural pathways representing negativity, lack, or disappointment- the latter becoming much like a cluster of stars that self-implode before they are ever recognized by the brain as an actual constellation more a passing notion rather than named, felt, and committed to memory, where it has the potential to be painfully re-experienced endlessly.

From close up it may seem to lack coherence and reason, but when standing back for the broader view, a pattern will emerge. Once awake, the spirit views the entire universe as a stunningly intricate mosaic pattern of interconnectedness.