Thriving in Chaos

Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 07:31:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tasha Taylor (
Subject: Chaos

John and Group,
Here is some food for thought on Chaos. I took a class on Chaos theory in November of 94, just 2 weeks after the 94 election. I took the following notes:

Thriving in Chaos

Notes from a course taken in November, 1994

by Lynn Bursten Ph.D.

Our world is making paradigm shifts right now which is allowing us to make meaning out of chaos. When chaos comes welcome it. Chaos will allow a breakdown of that order which will allow change to occur. We are looking at death or transformation.


  1. To change the way we thank about chaos. This requires a fundamental change in how your experience reality.
  2. To learn new paradigm techniques for thriving. Approaches for dealing with chaos - the way you think makes a difference.
  3. To begin co-creating our future. Doing it right now.
Chaotic Change:
When chaos occurs you can't see what is happening.
Pattern recognition is important. Try and find a way to connect the dots - so-to-speak. The normal response to chaos is absolute fear. Take time to talk and reflect and plan for it. Support yourself and dont fight the river. Go through chaos and enjoy it.

Diving into Chaos: The following quote is from H. Prather:
A time comes when you need to clean house. No, you need to go even further. You need to burn the house down with yourself in it. Then you must walk from the fire and say, I have no name.

Complexity: The world is full of deep structures. Chaos is an order we have not perceived yet.

Global Structures | | Local interactions Life creates complex local structures. We will have emerging structures that will come out and solve problems. Worry about your self locally.

Turbulence: Being able to thrive in Chaos is important.

Learning to thrive in chaos:

  1. lst order: Adaptation. When chaos happens you take the present theories in use to try and make meaning out of the situation. If the situation is threatening you will respond in fear. Instead of using the same old theories - try new theories to make meaning out of chaos.
  2. 2nd order: Developmental. When you see chaos, experience the fear, reflect on the new information, create new theories on how things work, and then try those theories out to see if they work.
  3. 3rd order: Transformational. A shift in paradigms is happening. Science is changing right now, we are discovering new laws. Changes will take place that will question our assumptions on how reality works, and how we know reality.

Chaos is essential for creativity and transformation. To get new solutions for problems we must go into chaos. Two people will never behave the same way twice. Remember this when trying to predict what will happen next.

The New Paradigm: The nature of reality.
a. Multiple levels of reality exist, each with its own laws, rules, and relationships.
b. Systems are complex networks of interdependent functions. Structures emerge from patterns of interaction.
c. Like holograms: each part simultaneously enfold and is enfolded by the whole.

Surviving and Thriving in Chaos: - Essential Elements.

  1. Create and sustain a vision
  2. Let go. (Let go of your need to for structure).
  3. Create open spaces - which allow for new structures to occur.
  4. Be human. We create great things - stop trying to be authoritarian or dictatorial - we create human structures.
Six Wisdoms:
  1. Symmetry and order prevent breakthroughs. Try to be asymmetrical.
  2. Be respectful and sensitive at all times - we are under stress.
  3. Stress means you need a difference perspective - change your mind set.
  4. Treat everyone as you would be treated.
  5. Pay attention to births and deaths. Things die, departments die, people die.
  6. Remember we are one - in a world of no boundaries - we are all terrific!
One final quote:
When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take that step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will learn how to fly. Teller

This is a summation of the class, but I found if very profound in looking at the times of change and how not to be afraid, for growth comes out of chaos!

Hope you all are well and dealing with and enjoying life!