Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Stephen Barnard (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 07:57:13 -0800

Len Piotrowski wrote:
> 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
> dubious.

While I too think this invocation of chaos theory is questionable, to say the
least, there have been some reasonable proposals that chaotic behavior is seen
in the human body. Sometimes it's pathological, such as heart fibrillations,
which do seem to be well modeled as stable periodic systems making a
transition into chaos. Sometimes it's useful, such as the suggestion that
sensory systems in the brain use chaotic atttractors to sample a large phase
space of possibilities. I think this is pretty speculative, but someone at
Berkeley, whose name I can't recall, has been making a case for it.

Steve Barnard