Apparent chaos

The title of this entry is inspired by a phrase from 2010 Masterchef winner, Dhruv Baker. During his visit to India in the final rounds of the competition he described the busy scene around him (a market, I think) as ‘apparent chaos’. What a perceptive phrase. For me it was the perfect description of somewhere so busy that it has the semblance of chaos without actually being chaotic. Indeed, apparent chaos can be the mark of a high level of order – the result of highly complex dynamics: in the marketplace crowds of people buying and selling, communicating, interacting in complex ways with a view to somehow getting everything done and sorted out.

The image below, entitled “Entropy or complexity” expresses this ‘apparent chaos’ concept. Its patterns of light travelling through glass, splitting into iridescence as it goes, have a random quality – yet there are physical and optical reasons for all the patterning and textures within the image; determined by the interplay of the shape of the glass, the type of light, the angle of light etc. … all of which means it’s a very very complex order, and not chaos.


‘Entropy or complexity’ August 2011 Light travelling through glass

Any comments on this are very welcome. I’ll post a few more examples in other media at some point.


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