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Seeing Chaos
by Jesse L. Smith
10/26/12
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Its not surprising to me that chaos should have such a central role in scientific theory and many belief systems.  The evidence, after all, is lived out every day in most of our lives.  When we look back at past years and the passage of time chances are it defies anything that even remotely looks like "order".  Because chaos is the only constant, the only absolute as it were, it seems natural to elevate its importance in our theories of existence.

We all frame our theories around our experience, whether consciously or not.  Science isn't so much about confirming what you don't see, but rather explaining what you do see.  New phenomena demand an explanation within a current framework of understanding based on previous observations.  We are biased from the very begining of the process, and expect that every new observation will fit into our current understanding of how things are.  

Change, if it ever happens at all, requires a different set of eperiences.  These experiences shift the confirmation bias from one of "chaos" to "order".  Its not so much that any of the evidence around you changes at all, only the bias.  If you believe that chaos rules the universe, all your intellect and understanding will be spent in confirming that bias.  If you believe that order rules the universe, just the opposite will be true.

Its amazing how easy it is for two people to have vastly differing perspectives over an identical set of circumstances.  Each individual may legitimately cite facts, figures, trends and analysis in favor of their position.  But each individual is looking only for that evidence that lends support to their bias.  Any evidence that seems to weigh against their postion is easily dismissed or more likely unseen until their bias changes.

In the middle of hard times, its easy to see the past as an unbroken string of painful memories.  But in the middle of good times, those moments of joy or elation, its easy to see the past through a different set of eyes.  Its pretty sad to think that our perspective can be so volatile and subject to changes in circumstance - but its probably true.  Faith is an exercise of maintaining perspective, whether it be through a paradigm of order or chaos.  If you truly believe in the rule of chaos, you will not allow any semblence of order to ruin your perspective.  But if you truly believe in Order, you will not allow those seemingly chaotic moments to ruin your perspective.

King David of ancient Israel wrote of the LORD, "For with you is the fountain of life: in your light shall we see light."-Psalms 36:9 Without Light, it is impossible to see anything but darkness. JESUS once told a woman who drew water from a well about another kind of water that only He could give.  This water, which He called living water, would be like an inner fountain that would forever satisfy her.  Even with a broken past of five failed marriages, and a wearisome daily routine. (John 4:14)  God gave that woman a new experience - and it forever changed her perspective.

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