• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Orderly Chaos or Chaotic Order?  RSS feed

 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Folks,

I have to do a speech on this topic for a permaculture course I'm taking.  This is the speech where we choose a topic from various PC topics that are pinned up on the wall of the classroom....and a topic that we are not very familiar with.  Hence, there is a bit more research involved this time!  I decided that part of my research could involve asking my fellow permies what their thoughts are.  Does anyone have a good way to describe what "orderly chaos" or "chaotic order" is?  I couldn't find any information that differentiates between the two terms, so I'm guessing they are the same thing.  Not sure why there was a question mark at the end of the subject however .

Any input is most welcome!

~Dave
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To me its like saying sandy clay, or clayey sand. The first is mostly sand and a lesser amount of clay, and the last is mostly clay, with a lesser amount of sand.
 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's how I was leaning, but I'm still curious...how would someone explain the concept (regardless of which term is used)?
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Dave,

I would quote Bill Mollison....

“We should not confuse order and tidiness. Tidiness is something that happens when you have frontal brain damage. You get very tidy. Tidiness is symptomatic of brain damage. Creativity, on the other hand, is symptomatic of a fairly whole brain, and is usually a disordered affair. The tolerance for disorder is one of the very few healthy signs in life. If you can tolerate disorder you are probably healthy. Creativity is seldom tidy.

Tidiness is like the painting of that straight up and down American with his fork and his straight rows. The British garden is a sign of extraordinary tidiness and functional disorder. You can measure it easily, but it doesn’t yield much. What we want is creative disorder. I repeat, it is not the number of elements in a system that is important, but the degree of functional organization of those elements – beneficial functions.” [Bill Mollison: Transcript for a permaculture design course.]

I am very creative and so this really tickled me.... Saved it and blogged about it. I know some people so constipated about tidiness that they are only kidding themselves that they are creative. Our modern hyper-tidiness.... and functional organization ..... are 2 different things. Same with natural systems.... Functional order in natural systems can look chaotic. But regimental tidyness... regimental visual order.... can be chaotic functionally. Kills synergy.... and creativity too! 

I think that is the meaning of the title. And the question mark. Question: Which do you want? Looks good or produces good?.... with the many integrations producing beyond your wildest dreams.

See what I wrote... get some ideas... play with it.... it is at the end of this post. http://edenparadigm.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-is-food-forest.html

Hope this helps,
Chelle
 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cyara wrote:
Tidiness is something that happens when you have frontal brain damage. You get very tidy. Tidiness is symptomatic of brain damage. Creativity, on the other hand, is symptomatic of a fairly whole brain, and is usually a disordered affair. The tolerance for disorder is one of the very few healthy signs in life. If you can tolerate disorder you are probably healthy. Creativity is seldom tidy.


Not too sure about tidiness being related to brain damage.  As there are plenty of people who are "tidy" or enjoy working with pattern that never suffered brain damage!  Also, that comment relates only to human brains, and doesn't address all the other natural systems of the world.  And where does honeycomb fit in?  That's a regular hexagonal pattern ("tidy" if you will) that seems to function and produce quite well.

Cyara wrote:
Our modern hyper-tidiness.... and functional organization ..... are 2 different things. Same with natural systems.... Functional order in natural systems can look chaotic. But regimental tidyness... regimental visual order.... can be chaotic functionally.


I like the rest of Mollison's statement, along with your follow up.  It does show me the difference between the two terms. 

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would describe orderly chaos as a modern agricultural farm. Everything is far in order, it looks neat and in line. though it is pure chaos as far as nature and a living system are concerned. Then I guess you could say chaotic order is more of a polyculture farm or a food forest, it might look like chaos because there are so many species of plants of all different kinds, but in reality they are all working together in some way or another providing a perfect chaotic order.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used to run tours of a nearby community garden that was pretty chaotic to the untrained eye with beds running in different directions and different shapes, more wild edibles than cultivated crops, and mixed plantings all over the place.

I started every tour by saying:

Remember when you're in this garden that there is order in the chaos.

I don't know if this helps you at all but I thought it might jog some thought...
 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, Soil and Travis, I like both of those.  The more examples I get, the more I feel like I'm heading in the right direction as far as what my teacher's expect.  I was really getting lost in the details when looking up dictionary and wikipedia definitions of chaos theory, complexity theory, entropy, etc...

I'll be starting to put something together tomorrow for my speech, so if anyone else feels like contributing..... 
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
kahunadm wrote:
Not too sure about tidiness being related to brain damage.  As there are plenty of people who are "tidy" or enjoy working with pattern that never suffered brain damage!  Also, that comment relates only to human brains, and doesn't address all the other natural systems of the world.  And where does honeycomb fit in?  That's a regular hexagonal pattern ("tidy" if you will) that seems to function and produce quite well.
LOL. That seems to be the general first reaction to Bill Mollison's statement. Please excuse my bit of fun. I know what he said sounds a bit rough..... but I had some things happen that brought it into clear focus. He is not advocating untidiness I don't think. That is functionally disorganised too! But this extreme need for us to regiment everything into straight lines and perfect "order"..... at the cost of synergy and creativity.... is a bit nuts in my view. I do not want to philosphize about this here... and start any kind of fire..... will probably do it to my heart's content on my blog instead.  Just to comment that the hexagon in a natural bee-hive is not placed in perfectly regimented rows as encouraged to do in a farmed bee-hive. And a natural bee-hive is more functionally optimal than a farmed one. If interested I could send you to some stuff to read up on.

I like the rest of Mollison's statement, along with your follow up.  It does show me the difference between the two terms. 
Glad it helped. Not surprised ... the concept was his in the first place.

Chelle

 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cyara wrote:
If interested I could send you to some stuff to read up on.


Always interested in recommended reading material.  Whadaya got?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think a big part of this topic is that imposing order on one thing, means imposing disorder on something else. Consider the clean rooms in which they make microchips: everyone wears bunny suits because a microscopic flake of skin might ruin several devices if allowed to float free, everything is disposable, monster air handling equipment scrubs and cools and dehumidifies and electrostatically strips outside air, and belches out warm moist air full of hydrocarbons and worse things. This is done to reliably make devices tens of nanometers across, from nearly flawless crystals about the size of a person. To impose such order, places like Nigeria are thrown into chaos.

Another important point is that complex systems often give rise to "chaos" in the mathematical sense (cf. the book of that name). Order can emerge from the interactions of equal agents. And unlike imposed order, emergent order is not so low in entropy (people, for example, are not crystals but mixed bags of warm salty water plus a stupefyingly large number of other chemicals: more entropic, even, than the ocean), and so the rejection of disorder plays much less of a role in its genesis.
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
kahunadm wrote:
Always interested in recommended reading material.  Whadaya got?



A wild beehive There is wonderful order without regulated frames. The way we manage bees traditionally is a bit chaotic for the bee colony.

There is a guy in Argentina... Oscar Perone... who has really hit on how to do beekeeping. Unfortunately his site is in Spanish... but can let Google translate... translation is poor but if plow through it can understand what he has so successfully done with bees. It is the way I am going to go... is so restful to the bees and so beehive health is optimal. He leaves the brood chamber large and without any guides... it is never touched. Neither are the 2 hive reserves just above the brood chamber ever touched. After that you can harvest. And the hive is built with all the chambers right at the outset... no adding piece by piece... and it is all left alone for the whole year. He calls it Extensive Natural Beekeeping. In the honey chambers the only guide for the bees is a bit of wax melted into a groove and hung downward... no rectangular framing. The bees do their thing.

He is a professional beekeeper and teacher. If you read enough you will see what he thinks about traditional beekeeping and what it does to the bees.

http://www.oscarperone.com.ar/

Chelle



 
Weeds: because mother nature refuses to be your personal bitch. But this tiny ad is willing:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!