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From Chaos to Cosmos?

Dinesh Singh Observing beauty in Nature has been a human pass-time since the dawn of civilization. Poets and seers of yore have visualized endless possibilities of variations in the bashful and enigmatic face of Nature. And this very possibility of variations in Nature is what makes it so marvelous and charming. Indian literary connoisseurs artists and poets have defined beauty as !one that takes a new form every moment" (Kshane kshane yan navatm upaiti tadeva roopam ramadiyath). A constant form howsoever beautiful becomes stale and boring after some time. #his is the truth of our daily e$perience to which even a lay man will subscribe. %hat is the reason behind this variation& 'odern science has discovered a new e$planation for this variation through its #heory of (haos. According to this theory Nature has not been moulded into any set pattern nor can it be because of the very nature of Nature which is unpredictable. Its behaviour cannot be predicted by any deterministic principle which relies on precision and e$actitude. #o what factor then can this unpredictability of Nature be ascribed& It is its randomness which is e$pressed in the abundance of freedom it en)oys. It is free absolutely free not bound by any mechanical system* not subservient to obey the command of any law. It owes this freedom to its randomness which in turn adds to its mysti+ue and charm. If a pattern cannot be captured within the framework of a deterministic principle it is bound to be chaotic. #hat is what the (haos #heory has to say. ,o chaos rather than harmony randomness rather than order emerges to be the truth of Nature. Naturalists as much as rationalists will be aghast at this conclusion of the !(haos #heory". -ubbing their eyes in disbelief and surprise they may ask .Is there no harmony no order in nature& /as something gone wrong with the 0ternal (lock&1 If this argument is stretched too far a new age 2avid /ume may proclaim3 .#he ,un may not rise in the east tomorrow.1 Are we ready to stomach such an absurdity& 4ut let us wait for this is not the end of the story of the (haos #heory. Its protagonists claim that a state of orderliness can be traced in the random patterns of nature )ust as harmony can be found in musical notes of different variations. #o understand e$actly how it is possible we will have to have a basic comprehension of the !Particle #heory" another discovery of modern science. According to it subatomic particles the minutest unit of material e$istence move randomly in space and when they integrate they form atomic or molecular structures. A combination of these atomic structures displays a pattern which is near e+ual to the initial possibilities of a single atomic structure. ,ince these atomic structures follow a random course no two combinations of atomic structures can produce identical results* they may be self-similar but not e$actly the same. #his is called the !Principle of ,elf-similarity". #he !Principle of ,elf-similarity" is considered to be a big breakthrough in the onward march of the #heory of (haos. Its protagonists argue that this principle can be seen working all over nature and it is one of the key natural principles that shape our world the

way it is. In the whole spectrum of natural phenomena we perceive self-similar events and things but never the same. It is because the pattern which nature follows is not mechanical. A machine can produce two or more identical things but two products of nature can never be the same. 0ven twins born of the same womb of a mother may look alike but are not identical. ,o much on the random patterns of Nature. 4ut a big +uestion arises here3 (an !total harmony" of the cosmos be e$plained in terms of !total chaos"& Perhaps science has not yet reached that stage. #he (haos #heory is still in the process of evolution and its final outcome is yet to arrive. 0ven if it arrives at one at some remote point in the future will it +ualify to be termed as !final"& ,cientific investigation is an ever-continuing process and conse+uently nothing can be termed as the final truth because scientific investigation itself is based on some scientific assumptions. New findings often corrode the validity of these basic assumptions. ,cience has a uni+ue way of mending its mistakes by what scientists call the !process of self-correction". It is to the credit of scientists and their intellectual honesty that they acknowledge their errors of )udgment and also the fact that none of their theories is conclusive. ,o where do we land at last& In yet another chaos5 #his prompts us to have a fresh look at the so-called #heory of (haos which seems to be based on two scientific principles viz. Principle of 6ncertainty and Principle of ,elfsimilarity. 7et us e$amine the (haos #heory in the light of these two principles which are the foundation stones for the superstructure of this theory. #he 6ncertainty Principle prohibits accuracy and lays down that if the initial situation of a comple$ system is indeterminable the evolution of the system cannot be accurately predicted. In the case of the (haos #heory the basic assumption is the random pattern of nature. -andomness of nature itself is a debatable issue and certainly not beyond +uestion and doubt. #his assumption itself as a matter of fact is based on some isolated observations and scattered data which seem to be too inade+uate to prove its infallibility and acceptability as a universal rule. #rue we may observe a certain amount of randomness in the behaviour of nature but at the same time we also observe a god deal of harmony and order not only in the phenomena of nature but also on the wider canvas i.e. the cosmos. #he sun rises and sets to the precision of pre-determined clock* planets move along their allotted paths without the least deviation so much so that the time and duration of eclipses can be predicted years in advance* seasons change and birds sing in a rhythmic tune as it were synchronized by the eternal #ime. 2iscordant notes if any in the grand symphony of Nature are few and far between. It follows therefore that harmony rather than chaos is the truth of the cosmos. Now let us e$amine what the Principle of ,elf-similarity proves in the conte$t of the (haos #heory. If the products of nature are invariably self-similar rather than identical it only proves that nature does not act mechanically but intelligently. Nature is not a machine to produce a horde of identical numbers. It acts intelligently and hence the variation. %herever there is intelligence rather than a mechanical device behind any act

the result is bound to carry an element of variation. 8or e$ample an intelligent human being howsoever meticulous and methodical cannot produce two identical autographs. #hey may look alike but not e$actly the same. Photographs will be identical since they are produced by a mechanical device but not two autographs by the same person. If Nature acts intelligently whence this intelligence come from& Perhaps science has no clue to this +uestion but philosophy has. ,omebody has rightly said3 .%here science ends philosophy begins.1 ,9nkhya school of Indian philosophy has addressed this +uestion and probably has come out with a plausible answer. ,9nkhya structures its system of philosophy on two basic principles viz. Prakriti, which may be described as the manifested world of phenomena and Purusha, the Principle of (onsciousness. Prakriti, in its primordial state remains homogenous and inert though potentially active. As a result of its contact with the Principle of (onsciousness it becomes active rather hyper-active and evolves into heterogeneous manifold forms which we call !(reation". %hy heterogeneous forms only& 4ecause Prakriti is composed of different modes : Sattva, rajas and tamas, which are called gunas but should not be misunderstood as !+ualities" Sattva represents sublimity rajas represents activity and tamas represents inertia or sloth. In the initial stage these gunas, too like Prakriti, lie in a homogenous state but as soon as Prakriti becomes active being vitalized by the Principle of (onsciousness these gunas get splintered and messed up in a heterogeneous state. /ence forms of creation are invariably of heterogeneous nature. #he pattern of these forms is characterized by variation but not conflict. ;ust like varying colours make a rain-bow similarly heterogeneous forms make a harmonious whole known as the universe and the intelligence of Nature lies in maintaining the harmony of this whole. A +uestion may be raised here3 Any mechanical device can be triggered to action by an intelligent agent but that does not make the machine intelligent. #he +uestion is logically valid but misplaced in the conte$t of Nature because its process is !evolutionary" not !mechanical". Prakriti, in its initial stage is both inert and unintelligent but in the pro$imity of the Principle of (onsciousness it gains both activity and intelligence. #his philosophical truth finds a beautiful e$pression in the <ita when 7ord =rishna says3 Under Me as her supervisor, Prakriti (nature) produces the moving and the unmoving; ecause o! this, " Kaunteya, the #or$d revo$ves (%h. &'()*) 'ay be what ,9nkhya philosophy has e$plained in philosophical terms the champions of the (haos #heory might be striving to e$plain in scientific terms not comprehensible to a lay man. It will be an ideal situation if philosophy and science come together to find a common solution for a common problem viz. the mystery of the universe