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The world is naturally chaotic. All our creation myths speak of creating order out of chaos, and that is because that is exactly what life is about. In less mythical terms, creating and maintaining order are major strategies to AddValue?
. How do we generally bring order to chaos?
- Contain. Limit the range of effect of the chaotic element. We imprison criminals, build fences, sandbox, dike, and otherwise create barriers to certain undesired actors' influence on your life. These barriers are not infinitely strong, but they need only be stronger than the collective force of what is contained inside them. Use many containers to divide and conquer.
- Collect. Rather that containing the elements, you can collect them together. This is pulling, where containing is pushing. Being the one source in the world where one can find all the great Picasso paintings makes you worth paying attention to. In the information economy, this is still relevant as information is made all the time all over the place. Being the one stop shop for that information increases your value.
- Structure. (sort, prioritize). Providing a singular, predictable method to retrieve information reduces much of that information to simply the single method. This helps find information faster. One can index into an alphabetical index faster than a random collection. Further, a sort that collects items together provides additional information by allowing one to search laterally from a target. For instance, when looking for a book in the library, the surrounding books are also often informative. Prioritization is sorting for the purpose of action.
- Connect. Related things should be connected closer together to improve mutual benefits, such as why we build roads between cities to increase commerce and strength.
- Constrain. Limit the range of actions that might occur to only those actions that can be dealt with in an ordered way. If you cannot constrain actions, constrain data. Limit the types of data.
- Cut. Most data is not information, but junk. Some information is not as important as other information. It is only possible to process a limited amount of information at a time. Once information is processed, get rid of it. If it isn't worthwhile, get rid of it. Less is more!
- Record. Information that gets destroyed over time is lost information; lost to the chaos. Record information that is pertinent, taking care to destroy impertinent information. Make sure that information remains accessible. Buried information is also lost information.
- Clarify. The more thinking someone has to do to understand information, the more obscure that information is. Make that information as easy to understand as possible. Extrapolate missing data, find missing details, be overt rather than secretive, tie loose ends, cut dead ends. In other words, Wiki:RefactorMercilessly. Also simplify the CommunicationChannel, say by using proper spelling and grammar, and a consistent StyleGuide.
- Abstract. Find general theories that cover large data sets, and thus you can understand those data sets. This reduces the need for those data sets, so you can throw them out. Tokenize and totemize the world to create labels so that we can discuss the world. Something cannot be controlled until it is named.
- Verify. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, inaccurate information is chaos hiding in the ordered environment. The less trustworthy the system is, the more people will feel it is in fact chaotic, and they will withdraw from it (TrustButVerify). Maintain your integrity.
- OrderChaos. Ordering chaos creates new opportunities to OrderChaos. Clearing a shelf creates room for new things. Organizing your bookshelf obviates gaps in your collection that you can fill. Organizing things elicits new understandings which lead to better organization, such as how Mendeleev's freakishly accurate Periodic Table of the Elements motived subatomic theory.
- MOTIVATE. All the above are useless unless the information has some utility. Does it motivate change in its readers (human or machine)? If reading it has the same impact as not reading it, the information is still chaotic, at least from the point of view of the readers. (cf. SignalToNoiseRatio)
Conversely, if you want to subvert order, you explode randomly (e.g. create a ForestFire, bomb civilians). It's imperative to prevent others from subverting order because it costs a lot to create order in the first place, and a lot more to reconstruct afterwards, especially since the psychological damage is undoable (cf. FirstReading). This does not necessarily mean HardSecurity, however.
A good measure of FeatureKarma is whether or not you accomplish one of the above properties by adding a new feature. Often you in fact decrease order (increase chaos) by expanding options that do not otherwise help collect, contain, nor sort. An example of a class of features that violates one of the properties to aid others is EnlargeSpace, where the enlarged space helps collect information to contain arguments about how to do so.
Order however is not the last word. Order is ossifying. Chaos is needed for progress.
Temporal ordering patterns
- Constant. Something that never changes or at least never experiences Death has the most temporal order. The reliability of a constant makes it very useful as a store for Memory.
- Schedule. Fixing point-wise events in advance helps predict when and whether those events occur. Often requires an Alarm and a Calendar & Clock.
- Calendar & Clock. Rationalizing time as an ObjectiveSpace? allows one to name times in the future as well as measure timespans in the present. This allows one to detect temporal ordering patterns like Cycles and Ladders, and thus predict the future. It also allows one to Schedule the future and set Alarms.
- Cycle. Cycles are a primary temporal pattern. Routines, rhythms, repetitions all form simple structures through time that provide consistency and coherence across this dimension. May appear as Waves.
- Concentric cycles. Having many routines at different rhythms allows one to cope with changes that themselves occur on varying rhythms. For example, the processes of short-term, medium-term, and long-term planning. Also, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, LongNow routines.
- Pendulum. Oscillation between two or more states in a Cycle allows states that are BalancingForces equal ability to correct the excesses or deficiencies of the others. Required when states require full attention to take effect. Often the other states still exist in some form, but in much smaller capacity until they have a chance to resurface. (e.g. left-wing vs. right-wing politics)
- Ladder. Progressively adding value, build upon what you had before. This often looks in time like a cone (or inverted Pyramid), where the breadth of knowledge you had increases along with the depth.
- Spiral. A combination of cycle and ladder. Follow a consistent routine to AddValue?. Every iteration of the cycle will raise you one rung.
- Platform. Create a StableBase from which one can build from and against in the future. Once formed, a platform forms a Constant; it forms a reliable foundation that one can build from.
- Fork. Follow more than one Redundant path in the future. Separate AnIndividual into two (and thus perhaps requiring a sense of TheIndividual, which are themselves only autonomous TheCollectives). Allow each individual to follow their own paths to see which one is more effective. Allow for competition (Pendulum). Allow for natural selection (Death). Allow for reproduction (Redundancy). This gives one evolution. Thus, while seemingly increasing chaos, this has a long term stability that actually works against entropy.
- Merge. Combine resources from two competing entities. Conjoin with, Eat another.
- Redundancy. Duplicating valuable structures preserves them against Entropy. If a structure becomes deranged, it can be reconstructed by copying from a redundant structure. Repetition in epic poems aides recovery, just as duplication in DNA preserves against mutation. Memory is a form of redundancy. See also WritingAgainstLoss. But even Memory must suffer Death (ForgiveAndForget), however, lest we remember even the pointless.
- Review. In a Cycle, monitor the structure to maintain the status quo against change or Entropy.
- Entropy. All things come to an end. Without this, we would be lost in a universe of detritus and derelicts. Death, destruction, sublimation all return resources back for reuse by others, as well as motivates action during life.
- Rebirth. Post Death, the Cycle is rebirth. To StartAgain gives the potential to fix the mistakes and learn from the wisdom of the past. It also has the potential to repeat the mistakes and forget the wisdom of the past. Thus, one might either Spiral up or down in the cycle of rebirth.
Douglas Hofstadter - operations of old-new-transformations
Probably from his book "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought".
- Shortening (components or schemes)
- Lengthening (components or schemes)
- Crossing Over (between schemes)
- Moving (vertical movement)
- Shifting (horizontal movement in organizational level)
- I fought the lawn, and the lawn won!
Trying to control and commandeer chaos is hopeless. Chaos will always win. If you are wise, you can find ways to use chaos to your advantage. Letting AnIndividual act on his own accord will be better than ordering AnIndividual to act according to some CentralPlan?. The greatest creations are realized when the world unfolds as it should.
Therefore, rather than take on a sisyphean task of fighting chaos, embrace it. Accept what it does so that you may come to enjoy what it does. What is more beautiful? A perfect lawn or teaming nature?
WabiSabi?, as they say.
Yggdrasil, as others say.
This may fold into AddValue? at some point. -- SunirShah
I liked this. I suppose in thermodynamic terms export chaos from system is also an important process. Have added some thoughts on AnarchyAndFreedom but there is a lot of stuff also on ConstraintsAndBoundaryConditions? which is interesting.