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The Power of Complexity

Vladimir Dimitrov

Dynamism and Patterning
Freedom from any 'goal-ideology'


Complexity studies processes of emergence of spontaneous coherence at the edge of chaos - a critical zone where order loses its rigidity and the energy and forces liberated in this process can either create complex dynamic patterns or joining the whirling sea of chaos.

The world 'complex' origins from the Latin words complexus, which means 'totality' and complecti, which means 'embrace'. The totality of existence manifests in its dynamics, in its never-ending motion. When trying to embrace this totality, complexity focuses on its almost miraculous ability to self-organize  - an ability, which can reveal the maximum of its creative power at the edge of chaos.

We are not unconscious about self-organizing ability of complexity - we are its products: we feel its power not only in our physical growth and reproductive ability but also in the intensity and magnitude of our feelings and our mental capacity; and at the same time, we are not conscious about self-organization either - we cannot create it: we cannot push self-organization to go where we want to, we cannot fight with its tremendous power. We cannot make spontaneous coherence emerge according to our desire but we can seed it and nourished; spontaneity needs gate to burst out and a space to manifest its creative potential - the edge of chaos provides both the gate and space for spontaneity.

At the edge of chaos, any external interventions that are alien to self-organizing ability of complex dynamics tend to produce false structures and 'numbing effects' with destructive consequences, particularly for the processes of life. In criticality of an individual's life complexity can reveal its creative power only through those human dynamics, which are authentic.

While encouraging us to be constantly goal oriented, ambitious, competitive and eager for achievements, today's society weakens our capacity to grasp the holistic nature of complex dynamics  and to fully experience, realise and develop their evolutionary urge.  For those who permanently seek order, certainty and predictability, for those who are accustomed to the way, in which various partial truths have been preached (and continue to be preached) by hundreds of fragmentary scientific disciplines,  complexity may never reveal its creative power.

It is clear that the existential dynamics  go forever: they have been before we entered into the flow of life, and they will be there when we are gone; with complexity we could  have  a few glimpses 'in the middle' and a few lessons how to accommodate the infinite richness of the edge of chaos for our growth and realisation.

Let us  recall the ideas discussed in these lessons; they are put together under the following four headings:

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© V.Dimitrov, 2000

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