Saturday, November 16, 2013

Embracing Chaotic Dynamics

We all instantly recognize the fundamental nature of chaos in our lives.  The archetypal creation myth posits that all originates in Chaos.  We all "get it," intuitively.  But generally we are enculturated to fear chaos, to hold it at bay through so-called "control."  Chaos is a very personal experience.  We relate to it viscerally as well as emotionally and intellectually.  When chaos intrudes on our lives, we feel pain, and defend against that pain with fear, rather than embracing the chaotic dynamic.

In psychology, we have had the idea that we need a "strong ego," that we need a stable structure in order to function and cope.  But nothing exists in complete order or complete randomness.  We live in a chaotic universe.  When we are "far from equilibrium" change becomes inevitable.  Like a bifurcation point in chaos theory, the old system either falls apart or emerges with a higher degree of order.  Our bifurcations state changes are personal crossroads, decision points, initiated by perturbations of our systems.

Chaos theory applied to experiential psychotherapy shows us we actually need to cooperate with chaotic dynamics, to enter a less-rigid process of flow, submitting outworn aspects of the ego to dissolution, which increases our adaptability, helping us evolve. The phase space of non-linear dynamics is analogous to psychic space--our psychophysical construct of our experience of reality. 

Iona Miller