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The Chaotic Model of Life

By Wynne Stevens

"When you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot?" --Joseph Campbell

One of the many advantages of growing older is an increased clarity, a new perspective based on a greater understand of the whole. Maybe there was some plan after all, some grand design that was "my life." Was I too wrapped up in it at the time to see and understand it?

I look back now on the course of my life with wisdom and maturity, achieved through many years of struggle. There is objectivity... and clarity. There is order - like some plot that only makes sense in the third and final act. Events have unfolded like a bizarre play with central players, stars, bit parts, sets, costumes, etc., each shaping and forming the unraveling story. What once appeared chaotic to me (and others) now appears intelligently pieced together in just the right way to achieve my life goal. What was that goal; who wrote the story?

Life is Chaos. It expands into turbulence, self-organizes through multiple feedback loops and reforms with greater awareness and understanding. It is nonlinear in nature; the results of one experience are fed back into the equation and, with each iteration, a newer version is created, the same but different; subtly shaded and infinitely deep.

Life, like the turbulence of Chaos, is not random. There is a design within these turbulent events - an order that guides and instructs. It forms the path we travel. Events and characters come and go creating opportunities for growth... or a cause for judgment. Challenge creates opportunity; uncertainty spawns creativity.

The chaotic model of life. Comprised of so many subsystems and feedback loops, constantly revising the plot, but always within the framework of the original story. Occasionally, there will be a bifurcation... an explosive, dramatic event creating a reality shift and a new wrinkle in the plot. The story remains the same; just more chapters.

How did it all happen? Each event and character, each scene a personal relationship with which I reacted based on my system of perception - those filters which are ingrained in my early subconscious and become the code by which I act. These relationships then create new "realities" (my truths so to speak). The plot subtly shifts.

I am pleased with my story now and pleased at where I am. Sure, there are parts I'd like to rewrite and avoid a lot of heartache but, then again, would the end result be the same? I'm reminded of the beautiful lyrics by Garth Brooks in The Dance: "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance."

I try to accept each event and character in my past as an important instrument in my growth... regardless of how painful or unattractive they might have been at the time. They were necessary teachers and kept me on the path. Now I see what I've become and I can look back at each only with gratitude and acceptance.

Wynne Stevens runs the Stevens Design Group that specializes in architectural renderings and other marketing graphics for builders, architects and their agencies. The Campbell quote is drawn from the book, The Turbulent Mirror by John Briggs and F. David Peat.

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