Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: Timeless Wisdom from the Science of Change

John Briggs, Author, David F. Peat, Author, F. David Peat, Joint Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (207p) ISBN 978-0-06-018246-5
Attempting to extract lessons for daily living from the emerging science of chaos theory, Briggs, a professor of English at Western Connecticut State University, and Peat, a British physicist, have produced an often frustrating, intermittently suggestive guide. Chaos scientists seek hidden patterns underlying apparently random events. By heeding their example, the authors maintain, ordinary folk can learn to appreciate the interconnectedness of all things, to go with the flow of events, to unlock creativity through heightened tolerance for ambiguity and ambivalence, to pay attention to subtlety, to act according to one's internal rhythms. Skipping fluidly from irrational numbers to Zen paradoxes, from Vaclav Havel's notion of ""the power of the powerless"" to the I Ching to the egalitarian, ""self-organizing"" interactions of an Ojibway Indian community and Manhattan's food distribution system, the authors use chaos as an overworked metaphor in a barrage of analogies, speculative leaps, platitudes and anecdotes. Their unconvincing manual is riddled with sentences like, ""Positive butterfly power involves a recognition that each individual is an indivisible aspect of the whole and that each chaotic moment of the present is a mirror of the chaos of the future."" Scores of intriguing photographs (66 b&w; eight pages color), which form an integral part of the book, reinforce points about the dynamics of change and the liberating potential of chaos with images of colliding galaxies, Ice Age cave paintings, a traffic jam, a craggy British coastline, plots of heart rhythms. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-06-093073-8
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X