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the paradox of chaos

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Black hole of chaos w pink rays

The black hole of chaos with pink rays by Yang MingQi

“Paradox is the very core of the universe,” I wrote, having spent a good chunk of the last decade contemplating exactly that.

I keep running headlong into seemingly diametrically opposed ideas, facts, truths and the like existing in the same time and space and being equally valid. Impossible, but true.

Paradox fascinates me.

“I would prefer chaos to paradox, however, just semantics (grok)?” He emailed back.

Hmmmmm.

“Chaos and paradox the same? Not really,” I thought to myself, and then decided to investigate further.

I turned to the repository of everything – the Internet.

Chaos, I found, may be defined as follows:

cha·os (ˈˌäs/) noun

Complete disorder/confusion: “snow caused chaos in the region”

Synonyms: disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, disruption, upheaval, uproar, maelstrom; muddle, mess, shambles, free-for-all; anarchy, lawlessness, entropy;

informal: hullabaloo, hoopla, train wreck, all hell broken loose.

Sounds like my life.

But wait.

Chaos is also “the behaviour of systems that follow deterministic laws but appear random and unpredictable,” like wind, water and weather apparently, which is convenient if you appreciate alliteration.

Chaos is when, according to one Edward Lorenz, “the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.”

Grok? Any stranger in a strange land surely would. I, on the other hand, still have a few questions.

More answers pop up on yet another Wikipedia page–there are millions of them as you know–which helpfully says:

Chaos refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, or to the initial “gap” created by the original separation of heaven and earth.

Greek χάος means “emptiness, vast void, chasm, abyss“, from the verb χαίνω, “gape, be wide open, etc.”, from Proto-Indo-European heh2n, cognate to Old English geanian, “to gape”, whence English yawn. It may also mean space, the expanse of air, and the nether abyss, infinite darkness.

Also sounds like my life.

So.

Chaos is at once a mad confusion, a muddle, a mess, a train in mid wreck, all hell broken loose, AND a void, a gap, an abyss, an emptiness the size of the universe itself.

How’s that for a paradox?

#justsayin

Susan Macaulay created and curates SheQuotesMy Alzheimer’s Story,  Amazing Women RockAmazingSusan.com, and Succeed With Susan. She is a feminist, global citizen, lifelong learner and the author of Everyday Feminine Wisdom and soon-to-be-published “the dogs’ breakfast.”