Seven Life Lessons of Chaos - John Briggs and David Peat

Seven Life LessonsThe development of chaos theory has provided new insights for science. It has enabled scientific thinking to move away from a picture of the universe based on idealised and inevitably simplified models, towards a more truthful representation of the world we actually experience.

This well written and fascinating book addresses the challenge of adapting our new scientific understanding and applying it to our daily lives. The book takes seven key features of our understanding of chaos and in turn explores how they may prompt us to think and act in new ways that better align with the true nature of the world.

- Be Creative: engage with chaos to find imaginative new solutions and live more dynamically

- Use Butterfly Power: Let chaos grow local efforts into global results

- Go with the Flow: Use chaos to work collectively with others

- Explore What’s Between: Discover life’s rich subtleties and avoid the traps of stereotypes.

- See The Art of the World: Appreciate the beauty of life’s chaos.

- Live Within Time: Utilise time’s hidden depths.

- Rejoin the whole: Realise our fractal connectedness to each other and the world.

In many ways the book covers much of the ground that I have been exploring and am attempting to write about. So in one sense it is a very welcome addition to my knowledge, disappointingly however, for a book written in 1999 its impact seems to have been minimal. The final chapter of the book describes why this would be so. We live in a world that yearns for answers, even when they can’t exist. Chaos theory is about the inability to predict and control, the inability to know and the reality of the unknowable. This is a book that embraces that reality with the following statements.
1. Every statement in this book is limited.
2. 1. is a statement in this book.

If you want an alternative to the endless stream of ‘Look here I’ve discovered the winning formula’ books, then this would make a fabulous start point.

Steve Unwin
July 2012