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(This is part 3 of a 3 part series, so if you haven’t read or listened to parts 1 & 2, please do that before you read or listen to this one–unless you really don’t care whether any of this makes sense to you.)

When we left our story of chaos and reorganization a few days ago, I’d just revealed the exciting answer to this question:

Why, in a universe that is irrevocably falling apart, do some things (including you) become more complex, more ordered? How, in such a universe, could something as complex as life develop?

Then I told you all about dissipative structures–open systems that grow and evolve in response to their environement. This was so fascinating to everyone in the blogosphere that thousands of blogs instantly linked to this one. (And then I woke up.)

At any rate, let’s continue our story because I want to explain something closer to home: How all of this affects your life, at the most practical level.

Here, then, is the second Big Question: Why do we fight this process of chaos and reorganization (you do, you know)? Why is this fight unnecessary–and, does it really cause most of your suffering ? (Yes, it does.)

Last time, in Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Part 1 (please read or listen to Part 1 first, before reading or listening to this post), after describing how everything in the universe is in the process of falling apart, I ended by posing what I called The Big Question:

How, in a universe irrevocably moving toward increased disorder, did something as complex and organized as life develop? Why do some things become more ordered?

How, indeed. This is an incredibly important question. You wouldn’t be here if SOMETHING had not happened to counteract all that entropy.

Despite the evil Mr. Entropy, here’s what happened, beginning eons ago:

“Breaking up is hard to do…”

Wednesday, 01 December 2010 by

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Chaotic inside?

Me, too. Everyone feels this way at times. Is this just bad luck? Crappy planning on the part of the universe? Or does overwhelm–that feeling that you might fall apart–play a positive role in life?

I’ve been thinking lately about the key ideas that have shaped my thinking. One is the principle of chaos and reorganization–a description of how complex systems, such as human beings, develop and change. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve heard me say many times that we’re all caught in a giant matrix of cause and effect over which we have minimal control. The principle of chaos and reorganization is an elegant explanation of how that matrix of cause and effect–which ultimately includes everything in the universe–evolves.