Path to Chaos

The term “chaos” is a word used by the mariner to describe the moment at which significant and rapid change occurs in society. It is borrowed from an area of mathematics called “chaos theory,” most recognized by the example that the air disturbed by a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can be the beginning of a tornado in Texas.

Generally, without getting lost in mathematical jargon, chaos theory has a set of mathematical equations that quantify increasing diversion from a single value. It is impossible to predict future weather from the butterfly’s action yet every possible weather pattern begins with this one event. The principle can be applied to increasing stress until the stress reaches a point that it discharges a sudden release of “chaotic” energy that changes the state of things. Simplest example is to study the breakdown of resistance in a rubber band until, all of a sudden, it snaps apart at an unpredictable moment.

Culturally, Rosa Parks was a butterfly on a bus on a normal day in Montgomery, Alabama that led to national unrest, marches into the deep south, activated National Guard in cities to prevent riots and looting, murder, military confrontation with Governor Wallace and became the Civil Rights Act signed by President Johnson. The chaotic moment occurred when the Civil Rights act became law and represented a new definition of American culture.

The chaotic process is the fragmentation of American society in many directions at once. Racism remains blatant. Class confrontation is growing. Conservative parties are splintered and all are in assault mode. Liberal and progressive parties flounder as liberal tenets are washed away by change not even thought of a year ago. Technology strips away social rules and mores. Privacy, fairness and respect for stability are disposable. Corporations tramp brutally on the security and fair fiscal policy expected by the middle class. The rich grow more distant while everyone else struggles. These are the stress values building toward a chaotic moment in American culture; the moment is unpredictable.

The Congress stands aside, focused on self-centered largesse and opportunity. Our government will continue to be useless and even interfere with sanity. We could claim that, as Nero, they fiddle while the U.S. burns – but they do not have fiddles. They are simply watching. No, they are not even watching.

At the street level, racial prejudice kills innocent individuals. It is unsafe for the wrong race or the wrong position on guns, abortion, government or global warming to be in the wrong neighborhood. In too many States, it is not safe to stand out culturally.

Constitutional rights to assemble, vote, work for a union, or stand up for gay rights, women’s rights or animal rights requires an understanding that one may be brutally injured or outcast at best.

The mariner remembers a cultish movie released in 1971 called “Little Murders.” It is a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family in a dysfunctional American culture. It starred Elliott Gould who played a character whose hobby was photographing dog excrement. He is brought home to meet his girlfriend’s parents who randomly shoot people walking on the street. It is a classic Jules Feiffer creation. Sadly, it is not far from today’s society where the answer to everything is a permit to carry a concealed weapon and mass shootings occur with irregular but persistent frequency.

Banks and large corporations continue to mug the public with abusive rights and privileges and eventually step outside the ethical fabric of the American culture to become quasi-legal thieves.

Yet, in the neighborhoods of America, there seems to be normalcy. Sanity prevails at the community level as though there were no upheaval in society. The behavior of the innocent American in an innocent community reminds the mariner of “Stepford Wives,” a movie where men’s wives were clandestinely murdered and replaced with replicated robots that were always obedient to the husbands.

Are the innocents we meet each day when we take out the trash robot citizens? Are citizens programmed not to ask for a decent raise for the past forty years or to share in profits for retirement? Are they programmed to vote for a person without caring whether that person can help them with daily life? Do they care that the American military is used as an employment agency primarily for those who cannot find employment elsewhere while allowing the rest of the Country to be so uninvolved as to not care if the Country goes to war?

The mariner foresees chaos. However, the mariner is not a harbinger of doom. The commotion we experience today is typical as a situation draws near to a chaotic moment. The question remains unanswered: Can each citizen manage this disruptive stress in our culture? Now, our culture is a maverick. The future requires citizenry with the backbone of their ancestors: take charge of the situation, suffer the hardships, and make it work for everyone.

The institutions of government and faith have proven to be unable to handle the shift. They are anchored in the old model and will be of little use to the citizens.

Resolution of the disruptive atmosphere in American society today requires butterflies similar to Rosa Parks – those in the quiet communities who have had enough and will stir the citizenry to take charge of the chaotic process.

Ancient Mariner


4 thoughts on “Path to Chaos

  1. This is very thought provoking. I am inspired to get on the bus. But all of the
    buses seem to be caught in gridlock. If the bus isn’t going anywhere, does it matter where you sit?

    • You have no difficulty understanding the issue. The “bus” you pick is gridlocked, as Rosa Park’s bus was gridlocked in racial abuse. Unfortunately, every attempt to start a path to change may not work individually but as more and more citizens chose a bus, momentum toward change slowly increases its impact on society. Hence the application of chaotic theory. One doesn’t know if one is the specific butterfly among thousands of other butterflies. The mariner can only say that he expects a tornado in the next twenty-five years.

  2. You post can be looked at on different levels..the first one that came to my mind is that I interpreted it as making a reference to the singularity, which I do not actually think that you were doing, though it is close to the same topic.

    The singularity is the moment in time when machine intelligence passes human intelligence and is usually described when man merges with machine to create a new form of being…your chaos is the same .concept. In other words, because information is accumulating so far and is doing it exponentially(example but not accurate figures..if information doubled ever 500 years prior to the current time, it is now doubling every minute I doubt that this is a big exagerration either) and at some point in time some incredible massive change will happen in the physics and a new creation will be born or something pretty big will happen ….I have read some are attempting to hold this back from every occurring but do not think that they will be successful. This transformation is sometimes called transhumanism…It can be an exciting thought with the removal of most of the aging “symptoms” and augmentation of the human in other ways. It is also scary..because the result would not be the same as human, and it would not be an android either..but pieces of both. This WILL absolutely happen and probably already has. There are already journals out about this and I read one called H+.(Human plus)

    In terms of your actual post, I agree with you entirely..the possibility of a really huge transformation of institutions does seem to exist. Some forces of control are attempting to maintain stability of the status quo and use machevellian tactics. I USUALLY avoid discussions such are your post as my own opinion
    is that it is all too far gone to bother to think about and that people seem to be moving in two camps: one which seeks to hold on to the status quo and materialism and one which is reaching deep into their soul or consciousness or DNA and evolving upward. This is sometimes known as planet A and planet B. Since I first heard you talk I thought you were in Planet A..most people are in Planet B(which is getting denser and denser and heavier and heavier, just as you describe in your post). Karen

    • Thanks for your notes, Karen. I have come across some of the ideas you talk about in your reply. The singularity and transfiguration of humans to human machines you speak of are feasible and intriguing ideas far in the future. It is true that today we can recreate some body parts and sustain life electronically but the total integration is not understood at the detail and scientific level as yet – though many write about it.

      The mariner tends to focus on the realities that surround our society today and in the next 25-50 years. We have many issues that will cause us pain in the social sense if we do not get our house in order. The mariner believes a major chaotic event will occur in this century, that is, a cultural chaotic event. From the view of an individual citizen, our Federalist and corporate structures are out of control . That is not a good sign.

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