Yes, as depressing as the title sounds, in applied mathematics it is believed that small differences in the initial conditions can yield a widely diverging outcome! This means even though the behavior of a system can be ‘deterministic’ (meaning outcome is fully predictable with no room for randomness – in scientific terms), the chaotic nature mentioned above makes them completely unpredictable! All it needs is a slight change here or there in the initial state and we will have an unpredictable outcome – this is also affectionately called the “butterfly effect” (the beauty of a butterfly flipping in Singapore, for example, causing a hurricane in Florida!) 🙂
I saw a movie The Oxford Murders, in which Prof. Arthur Seldom (John Hurt) explains this fragility to his students that we humans face when it comes to reconciling with mind and matter! That, we refuse to accept certain notions, such as a pure abstraction, can only exist in our brain (not in reality)! He says in his first scene: “If we write 2, then 4 then 6, we feel good because we know that next comes 8. We can foresee it. We are not in the hands of the destiny. Unfortunately however, this has nothing to do with truth. Don’t you agree? This is only fear….” How very true!
As I was seeing the revolution warming up in Egypt, I was feeling the same…, how very frail they are for not knowing what is in store for them! No one knows, and none can predict! The media philosophers who cheered for the past few weeks, Mubarak being vanished from the equation, are now silent with fingers crossed…, sadly these ‘trigger happy’ idiots who once trumped up the so-called freedom movement, filtered the news to advance their agenda, now covering nothing! Yes, they too can’t predict what Egypt will become but they knew this from the beginning – and that’s the sad part of this drama! Once their local agenda, whatever that may be, has been accomplished, they just took Egypt out of their news! While in Egypt the reality stinks even more: the military suspended the constitution, imposed martial law (BTW, whole world knows that there is no such a thing as ‘martial law will end in democracy’ anytime soon, so please don’t talk about hope BS!), people are on strike, and there is no food on the table for many! Slowly one by one is waking up from their dreams to realize that their dreams are nowhere in the vicinity of their lifetime! Some are even wondering whether they were played like pawns by some kingmakers… Maybe the Muslim Brotherhood? Only time will tell.
So what do we do now? Arthur Seldom adds, “There is no way of finding a single absolute truth, an irrefutable argument to help answer the questions of mankind. Philosophy therefore is dead. Because whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.” – I agree.