The Implications of Chaos and Complexity Theory for Arts: There Are No Absolutes
C&C theory proposes that the evolution of the universe and everything in it is due to forces of self-organization as well as natural selection. Also, that aspects of complexity defeat scientific prediction in the reductionist, Newtonian sense. This can be extended to suggest that, just as simplistic prediction is impossible (as in weather forcasting), causality is ultimately untracable and determinism an impossibility. Furthermore, it proposes that all complex systems are emergent, and create their own rules of operation as they evolve. Newtonian laws are like the rules of chess: they do not predict the pattern of a particular game or the strategy of play. The strategy of play is analogous to the rules of operation. Understanding the universe is ultimately a matter of understanding these strategies. The human mind, human societies, and languages are all complex emergent systems. C&C theory has much to say about these "strategies" which sheds light on fundamental questions in the arts and social sciences. I will discuss implications for philosophy (the question of free will), languages (the fundamental error in deconstruction), history (if society is a complex emergent system, does it exhibit strange attractor patterns), literature (Blake and the new cosmology).
Keywords: Chaos theory, comPlexity theory
Dr. Andrew T. Seaman
Full Professor of English, Department of English, Saint Mary's University, Halifax