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complete disorder and confusion.

Chaos theory is the field of study in mathematics that studies the behavior and condition of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions—a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect.

Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to increasing the understanding of nonlinear phenomena.

Images of Chaos: most are in fact recurring patterns, sets thereof so that no single pattern dominates and offers a category for the depiction.

The above are all directs thefts off the internet: The first is the initial definition given when one searches for “chaos”. The second is a theory that in fact resolved a large number of seemingly chaotic situations into the results repetitive, evolving fractal equations; not chaos at all, just a well hidden system. The third – the copied blurb for the scholarly journal dedicated to studying the non-linear. Non-linear sounds much like the perception of dyslexics, we have a hell of a time trying to keep things in order, particularly linear order: letters, numbers, chinese characters, morphemes. The fourth: a comment on the many images shown on the internet that are labeled as depictions of chaos which are not actually chaotic. But, as mentioned above, are sets of recurring patterns. Not chaos at all according to the definition above.

Of interest is the relating of “chaos” to ‘non-linear phenomena’ and giving that the short title “Chaos”. Language then is chaotic; none less that Noam Chomsky, linguistic, scholar, philosopher, political commentator, claims that language, big L is non-linear. To support his claim he uses the sentence: “Instinctively eagles that fly swim.” (Chomsky, recently in a book about the Kind of Creatures we are: date unkn, publisher, unkn, page indeterminate [ I am reading an electronic version which calls each page on my phone by a sequential number; relationship to a printed version unkn]. {My aversion to making notes and organiziing them is, besides being lazy, why I am not a Ph.d., boring some poor souls looking at a lifetime debt so they can bore some more souls. } Back to eagles flying to swim, instinctively.

‘Instinctively’ in this sentence is known instinctively by all English speakers to apply the verb swim, which is remote, three items on from it. Therefore to depict this semantic relationship one needs draw a line from ‘instinctively’ to some sort of accumulator; called nodes in Chomskyian linguistics, and from that node, back to swim. Chomsky claims this relationship is recognized by all speaker of English; sounds like an instinct. But why can’t the word apply to fly; that’s what eagles do, fly. I believe that Chomsky would argue the the item that restricts the item fly to being an attribute of eagle. (There are no words in L, just items that get word-hood on going to little l, language as heard/spoken and then written and read.) and takes it out of the scope of instinctively leaving it as only an attribute of eagles. But flying seems an innate attribute of eagles, and therefore an instinct. Something that is learned without instruction. And, why only eagles that can fly swim ? Now an eagle without wings probably can’t swim, nor can it fly. But cormorants which are artificially prevented from flying when used to fish, can still swim. I saw a film on that once.

I would prefer to say that the term instinctively coming at the front of the sentence includes everything in the sentence in its scope: the eagles, flying and swimming. Why this order? The front position is frequently the ‘topic’ of the sentence; ‘instincts’, eagles have them; one of them is flying, all assume that to be true; another, unexpected is swimming, so the item for swimming is hung out in a place of emphasis. So the plan of the sentence and its interpretation may be linear overlaid by a forward loop; or a backward loop to tie the bits together. To baldly assert that language is non-linear based on the emphatic intent of the sentence seems weak.

But Chomsky’s insinuation that language is chaotic is to a degree correct. Trying to put together items in a linguistic context to convey, accurately, an idea to others can be very difficult. That’s why there are previewers, reviewers, committee members; in speech: repairs and various strategies to facilitate getting out your message. It begins as chaos, and if the negotiations and mediation among and between the participants are successful; the fractal evolution may produce things of beauty and insight. Dyslexics, direct receptors of the ‘buzzing, blooming confusion’ that we are born into, are stuck in chaos, having to learn by rote and drill what others innately, instinctively put together.

Long live Dyslexia and Chaos.


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