CHAOS NATURAE: Chaos, Complexity & Alchemy
by Iona Miller, 4/2009
"Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man."
--Henry Brooks Adams
Alchemy Journal Submission May 2009
KEYWORDS: Chaos Theory describes the behavior of non-linear dynamic systems, fractal geometry, and the complex, systematic behavior of nature as well as our nature, consciousness and health. It describes in eloquent equations deterministic ordered randomness, dimensionality, reflexive feedback loops, boundary conditions and integration. It is the realm of the irrational, paradoxical, of rich values and structure, self-generative and self-iterating, of self-organizing (autopoietic) emergent creativity, stretched time and folded space, inherent unpredictability, yet boundaried and geometric. The domain of global behavior, open systems, criticality, sensitive dependence, strange attractors, fluctuations, turbulence, perturbations, thresholds, trajectories, bifurcations, phase transitions, temporal density, reiteration, synchronicity, resilience, the "butterfly effect," subquantal chaos (ZPE), dynamic geometrization, probability, relativity, disruption, coherence and stochastic resonance, synergetics and tensegrity, self-reflection, nested cycles, the breakdown of order with sudden transitions, the creative and evolutionary "edge." Chaotic systems are apparently acausal, inherently qualitative, sustained by complex feedback loops, and disproportionately responsive.
CHAOS NATURAE: Chaos, Complexity & Alchemical Process
By Iona Miller, 2009
By Iona Miller, 2009
"Whence will come the chamaeleon of our chaos in which all secrets are hid in their potential state."
A state-of-the-art empirical foundation is essential for any well-grounded philosophy of life and realistic self-concept. We have limited subjective fantasies about ourselves and the nature of the universe all the time. Usually we do not examine our a priori beliefs which condition those notions. We grasp our beliefs as though they were the most precious of gemstones, rather than just models or constructs, only a simulation of ourselves and the world-at-large. From our worldview come symbols and images which a small part of our brain, and an even smaller part of our mind and consciousness clings to, attempting to structure reality out of chaos. Understanding the poetry and art, we can still pursue our sacred science, amplifying and updating our terms with contemporary metaphors. Alchemy is a mode of perception equally concerned with psyche and substance, mind and matter. In alchemy all matter has soul. Alchemy frees our creative magination -- esoterically-trained imagination -- by providing a matrix within which we can dissolve and transcend our old boundaries. Chaos is a bridge for unfolding "heaven on earth," a means of manifesting spiritual energy that is not only creative but inherently healing.
We are agents of chaos. The secrets of chaos are embodied and revealed in alchemy and chaos theory. Alchemy and chaos theory are metamodels, demonstrating we are verbs, not nouns - holographically interconnected dynamical processes, not separate things. The whole is contained in the part in reiterated patterns of nested structure. Chaos is the transformative energy. We have the capacity to transform utterly in any given instant of pure potential.
Alchemy rightly identifies chaos as a chamaeleon -- ever changeable yet the same. Chaos is complete in itself, internally harmonious. Creation is a self-contained, organic process of development. Layered complexity automatically surfaces the features it is critical to work on at a different level. We do not have to take apart, analyze or interpret the complexity of images but learn to flow with them just as they are presented in the stream of consciousness and experience. Each flowing image brings a morphological epiphany, "I am that."
We are always in dynamic balance between order and chaos. Nature's way also expresses our deepest nature, precreative chaos. Paradoxically, we initially have to separate ourselves from it to become more intimate with it. Mining the soul through mindbody cultivation, we disassemble ourselves to recongeal in purified or refined form, reintegrated at a holistic level of dynamic functionality. We revert to chaos in meditation as the body stills and thoughts slow down and cease in universal resonance. Healing emerges by immersion in the undifferentiated chaotic consciousness.
Chaotic material comes in many forms with structure at a global level. Chaos is present in the universal set of building rules, networks, events, coherent wholes, dimensional embedding, the nonlocal mind and the synergetic achitecture of life and biological organization. Matter is not passive but spontaneously active. Order is created in this random activity.
Chaos underlies global behavior and the dynamical system of the mind, panpsychism, psychological complexity, sentience and emergent properties, pattern recognition, genesis of intelligence, reality discrimination, raw awareness, attention, meaningfullness, perception-cognition loops, refocusing, creative inspiration, consequences, memory, self-sustenance/structure maintenance, perceptual chunking, time distortion.
There is chaos in our dreamlife, fantasies, mythologizing, in the complex interactions of the neural firing patterns of our brain, and the dynamics of thought especially during REM, creative imagination, connectivity, even enlightenment--the biology and psychology of consciousness itself with its tightly knit fabric of subprocesses, and especially in point of view/relativity, significance/correspondence (beliefs, concepts, attitudes, emotions, behavior), attributions, restructuring, adaptive learning, spontaneous healing.
We don't need to worry about the mathematics or geometries here, except to know chaos and self-referential fractals validate the assertions foreseen long ago in alchemy, such as "As Above, So Below," holism, and the urobouric feedback of circulatio and turbulent vapors. Chaos is sensitively dependent on initial conditions. It kindles heightened response patterns. This kindling is synonymous with the alchemical fire of calcinatio. Chaos turns up the psychic heat.
Jung related the deep structure of the psyche, prima materia to the collective unconscious, our transpersonal being. Our minds shape our perceptions of the environment according to innate categories. Our nature is not separate from the nature of matter or the nature of the world. We are always in flux. We are one with the matrix of all creation, primordial awareness, the unmoved groundstate of our being.
When the mind is stripped of its contents by sublimation of our being, we experience the pristine natural mind. Prima materia is the "mother" and a return to this most fundamental state is a return to the womb for rebirth. This initial state is the raw material from whch we make gold by pursuing the experiment with ourselves. Our understanding of the true nature of the work deepens beyond concepts into experience and direct knowing.