Monday, December 12, 2005
No sequence of events can ever be exactly repeated twice. The chaos theory suggests that any number of factors, changes in temperature, most famously the flap of a butterflies wings can change absolutely the order of minute events which make up an experiment. By experiment I mean anything a meteorologist predicting the weather to the flip of a coin at the start of a match. There are constant variables but there is never any means of controlling them- in flipping a coin there are two variables which could theoretically be controlled- how soon the coin hits the ground, and how fast it is flipping. In practice it is impossible to control these factors. What strikes me about this idea is that in our day-to-day lives we also never see events in the same way as anyone else or experience a sensation in the same way as anyone else and even we ourselves will never repeat that sensation or fully appreciate the experience in the same way as the moment the experience passes we will have a whole new set of factors which will change our mindset, mood and consequently how we view the past experience. Sitting in a cinema, sitting across the kitchen table staring at the same box of breakfast cereal or even laughing at the same joke; there are so many factors at play. Pointing out an interesting news story or a striking image you will never be sitting in the same position, have the same eyesight, have the same opinions or have had the same experiences dictating how you respond as the person or people who are looking at the exact same image or event or cereal box. In the instant it takes you to acknowledge, process and see the image any number of factors can have changed, wind, temperature, a cloud, the sun, your stomach rumbles, your tootache returns and you will do this with your unique sense of humour, instincts and way of understanding through a never to be repeated series of events which have lead to you being the person you are. If so much can change in the smallest amount of time imaginable and if so much is changing at every instant of every day in everything we do, how can we know what we do, what we see, how we feel? Is there any definitive way we can ever write an essay, post a blog or pass a comment on any single event or emotion because our view of it at the time was entirely unique and unlike anyone elses and now that the time is passed we can never really offer a true description of it? Clearly we pass comments, write articles and blogs but is any of it real or does it in anyway reflect what is actually going on?