The emergence of chaos

Watching closelyThe ‘butterfly effect’ has become a popular slogan of chaos. But is it really so surprising that minor details sometimes have major impacts? Sometimes the proverbial minor detail is taken to be the difference between a world with some butterfly and an alternative universe that is exactly like the first, except that the butterfly is absent; as a result of this small difference, the worlds soon come to differ dramatically from one another. The mathematical (and Magical) version of this concept is known as sensitive dependence. Chaotic systems not only exhibit sensitive dependence, but two other properties as well: they are deterministic, and they are nonlinear.Chaos is important, in part, because it helps us to cope with unstable systems by improving our ability to describe, to understand, perhaps even to forecast them. Indeed, one of the myths of chaos is that chaos makes forecasting and divining a useless task. In an alternative but equally popular butterfly story there is one world where a butterfly flaps its wings and another world where it does not. This small difference means a tornado appears in only one of these two worlds, linking chaos to uncertainty and prediction: in which world are we? Chaos is the name given to the mechanism which allows such rapid growth uncertainty in our lives, be it magical or mundane. The image of chaos amplifying uncertainty and confounding forecasts will be a part of magic until we move back to the caves, or the Earth shrugs us off like a bad cold.Warnings of chaos are everywhere, even in the nursery. The warning that a kingdom could be lost for the want of a nail can be
traced back to the 14th century; the following version of the familiar nursery rhyme was published in Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1758 by Benjamin Franklin:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe the horse was lost,
and for want of a horse the rider was lost,
being overtaken and slain by the enemy,
all for the want of a horse-shoe nail.

We do not seek to explain the seed of instability within magic, but rather to describe the growth of uncertainty after the initial seed is sown.It’s the point that 4 family members die with the fucker you curse, or you grow rich from some windfall but lose your sight. In this case, explaining how it came to be that the rider was lost due to a missing nail, not the fact that the nail had gone missing. In fact, of course, there either was a nail or there was not.But Poor Richard tells us that if the nail hadn’t been lost, then the kingdom wouldn’t have been lost either. The study of chaos is common in applied sciences like astronomy,meteorology, population biology, and economics.It is just as common today in magic, but the chaos magical approach is often approached as a mix and match of the violate. This
approach is even subject to it’s own nature. According to Liber CHRNZN, to achieve the ecstasy of heaven one should
violate the violate. One of the advantages of the chaos magical standpoint lies in it’s paradigm shifting. Please
note now that this perspective is a paradigm in and of itself (other perspectives are possible of course). The current view expressed is to be viewed as the commonly accepted filter for interpretation. How this shifting is viewed is up to the personal magicians tastes, but I have found that ‘Chaos Magick’ concerns itself with something which underlies all of the filters of existence. In chaos,  Sciences making accurate observations of the world along with quantitative
predictions have provided the main players in the development of chaos since the time of Isaac Newton. According to Newton’s Laws, the future of the solar system is completely determined by its current state. The 19th-century scientist Pierre Laplace elevated this determinism to a key place in science. A world is deterministic if its current state completely defines its future. In 1820, Laplace conjured up an entity now known as ‘Laplace’s demon’; in doing so,he linked determinism and the ability to predict in principle to the very notion of success.

We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its
past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain
moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all
positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect
were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would
embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of
the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect
nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would
be present before its eyes.

Note that Laplace had the foresight to give his demon three properties: exact knowledge of the Laws of Nature (‘all the forces’),the ability to take a snapshot of the exact state of the universe (‘all the positions’), and infinite computational resources (‘an intellect vast enough to submit these data to analysis’). For Laplace’s demon, chaos poses no barrier to prediction. This “conjuring of the Demon” is the true substrate of the LHP, to gain those three properties would mean to complete the great work.But, each person wants to experience both itself and the world more fully. By doing so, it attracts and creates far better (more intense) sensations for itself. The difference between attracting and creating sensations are typified in an ancient Taoist symbol most people are familiar with, the yin-yang. To experience the difference involves a meditation, and in meditation you strip away intense sensations to experience the self.The three properties of Laplace’s demon come from less, not more, and by lessing yourself you gain Gnosis, the Greek word for ‘knowledge’ or the ‘means of knowledge.And this is what we look for in the Art Magic,like Chaos, it is neutral: it doesn’t worry about good or evil. The Masters are neutral: they treat everyone the same.

Lao Tzu said Tao is like a bellows:
It’s empty,
but it could help set the world on fire.
If you keep using Tao, it works better.
If you keep talking about it,
it won’t make any sense.

Be cool.

Sources:Chaos: A Very Short Introduction by:Leonard A. Smith,The Wishing Well -or – Releasing The Butterfly of Chaos by Frater Choronzon, ANGELS OF CHAOS by:Frater Elijah, Kinesthetic Magick by MAZE

Copyright Art and stuff, Vincent Piazza 2015

 

The emergence of chaos was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

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