Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Len Piotrowski (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 13:04:53 GMT

In article <> Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax <> writes:


>In fairness, no. I am the one who brought chaos theory in and then had what
>I meant twisted by the High Priestess from Washington who first said there
>was nothing personal and then said I knew nothing about science.

>What my point has been all along is that you can take the same building
>blocks and get some dramatically different results. My primary example
>was the genotype and the phenotype distinction used in genetics to
>explain why two individuals can have the same genes and yet turn out
>quite differently. Vulgar sociobiologists (to use Sahlin's distinction)
>want to reduce all human behavior to a black box. Forget culture.
>Forget thought. It is all in the genes they say.

>I happen to believe that the human mind can have quite an effect on the
>phenotype and on nature itself if it can find ways to affect nature
>within the framework provided. This isn't an "anything goes" like
>Angeline so nicely accuses me and doesn't accuse me of. We have our
>limits but the interesting thing is that within those limits there can
>be a nearly infinite number of variations.

>*scratches his beard*


*scratching my head*

The apparent connection between Chaos Theory as an explanation for
"phenotypic" variations (problematic and questionable given structural
constraints of real world ecosystems) and "nature" itself with the workings of
the "human mind" are hard to swallow. If somehow purposeful, meaningful, and
directed human action is manifest in context through a chaotic process that
creates structures (organized phenotypes, organized personalities, organized
social types, organized cultural types, organized meanings, organized
nature?) I fail to recognize it. The value of a universal explanation for a
failure to create exact copies of anything in the human sciences is rather

In the area of human social-cultural life, meanings are emergent and sustained
through contextual encounters in space and time, each of which has a potential
for infinite and random outcomes. Yet what is surprising is not that
structured relationships evolve within these auditions, but that they persist
from encounter to encounter. This is primarily what most students of human
society and culture are interested in. How can Chaos Theory come to grips with
this aspect of human social-psychology?