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Chaos = Creativity

November 02, 2008 | 7 Minute Read

A few years ago, my friend, V and I went to an interesting seminar given by Krystyna Laycraft. She has an interesting theory relating chaos theory with creativity. Her equation looks simple yet has great applications, Chaos = Creativity. And since we came out of her little 1 hour seminar, I’ve been able devise insights into some of my dilemma’s; insights into my psyche; and insights into business, all using this new paradigm shift. All I can say is “Wow!”.

The reason for going was Vanessa had heard about this seminar and ask if it sounded interesting. I thought, “hey why not.” Next thing I knew, tickets where purchased and we where sitting in a small room of about 30 people and Krystyna started explaining chaos theory.

As a creative individual, I was hoping to use this to be able to re-open and kick start a small creative hump I’ve been having. But as I listened, and as Vanessa and I continued to discuss afterward through the night, some pretty interesting and powerful Ah-ha moments ensued.

It was a lot to take in. I wasn’t taking notes, so some of my information can have a few gaps, but this is my rendition and learnings from the seminar. I suggest, if you get the opportunity to go to the seminar yourself.

Why Chaos Theory?
The best an most recent example of chaos theory is the traumatic tsunami that just occurred. The tsunami is a perfect example of chaos theory in action. A particular moment, in contact with another unknown element, caused a particle in the water to go left instead of right . This caused a chain reaction causing more particles to change there motions which lead to more and more alterations. The ultimate result is that of a massive wave of tremendous proportions. This incredible moment was caused by a single moment it time and space. Imagining the powerful outcome of the tsunami being put to use in terms of creative energy or moments. Gravity, Electricity, Penicillin, Sticky Notes, Velcro: these are all tremendous achievements and inventions that where made possible with a single accidental moment. Something unknown, cause a trickle effect leading to a surprising and life altering outcome.

A Quick Lesson in Chaos
( by someone regurgitating new lessons )
Chaos has several different stages but tonight Krystyna focused on 2, the “bifurcate” and “attractors”.

  • The bifurcate - is the moment of divergence of a particular element or particle. Essentially it is that moment of left or right. It is that moment where a path must be chosen. Hence the definition.
  • The attractor - from how I understand it, is the reason that has attracted the moment of bifurcation. It is also the predictability of the outcome of the bifurcation. There are 4 of these attractors (“outcomes”)
    1. Point - this is a single definite moment. A definitive point. It’s a 1 dimensional element. The outcome is always known and predictable. An example, would be death. It is a finite single point that we know will happen to all living things. When it happens is uncertain, but it will happen.
    2. Circle - this is a 2 dimensional cyclical pattern. It isn’t a point, but is a predictable cycle. Every point in the circle will be reached, and once the cycle is complete the outcome will happen the exact same way as it did the last. It again is a predictable moment, yet, only through seeing the entire cycle can the prediction become accurate. I personally am having difficulty finding an explanation or occurrence of this pattern. I think is would be a repetitive cycle. The outcome is a completely predictable once the full cycle is known.
    3. Torus - this is a 3 dimensional pattern. Picture it like a hollow donut. And in that donut is a single moment flailing and spiraling through the donut in a particular direction, i.e. clockwise. Now this type of moment isn’t predictable, but a general understanding can be gained. That moment will eventually end up back at approximately the same place but the precise position/outcome will be unknown. The example are the seasons of weather. We all know that it will go from spring to summer to fall to winter. But how long that will take, or how calm or severe is completely unpredictable. We know that there is a general pattern, but cannot predict its exact outcome.
    4. Strange - This is where the fun comes into play. Strange is a 4 dimensional outcome. Meaning that the outcome can be completely anything. Anything in 3 dimensional space, plus any instant of time, could impact the result. These are those complete spontaneous moments where something impacts our path causing the bifurcation. And example would be, if I’m walking down the street and all of a sudden a pebble comes tumbling down a hill and into my path. All of a sudden, I trip on a pebble and I stumble and fall. The moment is completely unpredicted and may never happen ever again.

My Ah-Ha Moment
Now, after explaining the fundamentals of chaos, Krystyna continued to help explain the creative cycle and how it comes into play. I’m not going to give the whole seminar away, after all, she is the expert and it’s her theory so, you should listen to it for yourself to be able to draw your own epiphanies and conclusions. But, for me, it’s all about the strange attractors. These are the key. Essentially, within the creative process there is a moment of “walking away” from the problem or the endeavor. It’s a moment when you get away to take a break. You might not even know you’ve walked away from something to begin with. In every good ( or ah-ha ) outcome, there is a “my best ideas come when I’m in the shower” or “I always know the answers right when I wake up in the morning” kind of moment. It’s these spontaneous insights into solutions, or ideas for new creations, that only through something unknown, and spontaneous, could the resulting outcome happen. Essentially my epiphany is this, you have to drive yourself in head first into unknown moments. Force yourself to be in unknown situations and unknown places doing unknown things. By maximizing and increasing bifurcating moments in your life, will you increase the chances of interacting with that single small moment which could ripple into the next big thing.

Conclusions and Applications
Psyche - Now this theory is known and applied by psychologists to solve psychological issues. I’m not going to go into too much detail, as it’s more personal of nature, but by tracking back issues in times of those decisions, and looking for those moments, can you really see the root cause. And, from my years of trouble-shooting and problem solving, only after determining the root cause can a solution be devised.

Creativity - Creativity in nature is spontaneous. When we get creative, and how to tap into that creativity is one of great conversation. Causing conflict, trying new things, Asking strange questions, all of these can be techniques into the next thing. I once heard that by playing a little word game during a brainstorming session, a major phone company increased its revenues from pay phones by increasing the weight of the phone receiver. Odd solution, but studies proved it worked. The heavier the receive the more tiered the arm was holding it. Causing conversations to be shorter, causing more available time for more people, meaning more quarters.

Business - in any business a single moment can make or break a business. It’s the skill of wave riding that really determines the successful versus the detrimental. In everyday there are always solutions needed to problems. So, the possibility to increase the “ah-ha” or positive solutions is to increase the unknown elements or moments. Conflict is proven to be effective in the workplace. Here is a great explanation why. Conflict=Chaos.

Thank You!
I'ld like to thank Krystyna and V for helping and causing my own bifurcation which trickled into the late night talk which trickled into this late night post.

Thank You!