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Dreamed 1994/12/4 by Chris Wayan

My life's in chaos, so I do what I always do when I face problems--take a class on it. A class in chaos theory. Not mathematical chaos theory. Personal chaos theory.

According to our textbook, there are really four different types or flavors of chaos, that we humans tend to lump together.

Simple chaos. Random or allowing itself to change without resistance. Chaos without a will; no strange attractors.

Responsive chaos. Chaotic pattern with a policy or goal: it tries to maintain itself and its goal, as the world throws random events at it. This type of chaos may be alive or even intelligent. Homeostatic!

Adaptive chaos. Doesn't just maintain itself in the face of challenges. Chaos Three may change goals, recast them in subtler forms, transform itself consciously; its only strange attractors are abstract values that its immediate goals embody. Such a chaos might seek happiness for itself or others, but never get obsessed with achieving this in one way.

Chaos in which even deep values evolve. But then what are their strange attactors, what distinguishes them from going full circle to whimsicality, apparent randomness, the mess of Chaos One?

It's just too abstract for me to grasp. And our textbook just mentions Four, then says "this is beyond the scope of this introductory course."

My homework is to compare the first three. I feel rather overwhelmed by them--they're a bit too personal for comfort.

Or even clarity. I have trouble distinguishing Chaos Two from Three, though I'm getting better. It's hard because I myself am a chaos wobbling between two strange attractors: Chaos Two's pattern of holding to strategies and goals, and Three, fluid about strategies and immediate goals, loyal only to deep values. I want to become a full Chaos Three! Not as a goal, of course--that'd be paradoxical, now wouldn't it? Just as a step toward my real Strange Attractor. The unknown. Chaos Four!

"But that," I realize as I start to wake, "is beyond the scope of this introductory dream."

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