This entry will utilize the concept of “chaos theory”. Below are some excerpts from wikipedia. If you do not really want to read these, that would be fine. There will be simplified explanations further below.
Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia related to chaos theory. It might not be what you think it is.
Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including meteorology, sociology, physics, engineering, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions—a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems.
Chaos theory concerns deterministic systems whose behavior can in principle be predicted. Chaotic systems are predictable for a while and then appear to become random. The amount of time for which the behavior of a chaotic system can be effectively predicted depends on three things: How much uncertainty we are willing to tolerate in the forecast; how accurately we are able to measure its current state; and a time scale depending on the dynamics of the system.
Some dynamical systems, like the one-dimensional logistic map defined by x → 4 x (1 – x), are chaotic everywhere, but in many cases chaotic behavior is found only in a subset of phase space. The cases of most interest arise when the chaotic behavior takes place on an attractor, since then a large set of initial conditions will lead to orbits that converge to this chaotic region.
An easy way to visualize a chaotic attractor is to start with a point in the basin of attraction of the attractor, and then simply plot its subsequent orbit. Because of the topological transitivity condition, this is likely to produce a picture of the entire final attractor, and indeed both orbits shown in the figure on the right give a picture of the general shape of the Lorenz attractor. This attractor results from a simple three-dimensional model of the Lorenz weather system. The Lorenz attractor is perhaps one of the best-known chaotic system diagrams, probably because it was not only one of the first, but it is also one of the most complex and as such gives rise to a very interesting pattern, that with a little imagination, looks like the wings of a butterfly.
Go here to see the Lorenz attractor in action,
Chaotic systems are nonlinear with much internal feedback. A human society constitutes such a system. People make decisions (the non-linear part), act upon those decisions, influence other people through those decisions, who then might influence others (or the original fella) as a result, and so on and so on. Through a combination of people’s natural inclinations and a culture a steady state condition might be reached, one where society is relatively stable. This would be an example of an attractor, as mentioned in the above text. In more concrete terms, an example would be the Patriarchy. But before we consider that further, discussing other examples of chaotic systems and their properties would be useful.
A classic example is climate. It has many nonlinear internal feedback systems, just like human societies do. It is a more apt model than one might think. Throughout Earth’s history, there have been warm periods and ice ages. Often they have lasted long periods of time; that is, they were seemingly very stable. But somehow, in some way, something happened to cause the climate to flip from one type to the other type. How did this happen? Somehow, in some way, the ball got rolling. Changes accumulated and eventually the climate changed into a different steady state. These types of events are termed the “butterfly effect”. That is, a small stimulus, if the conditions are right, can start a cascading set of events that change everything. Furthermore, it should be noted that not all climate states were similarly stable. Sometimes ice ages lasted a long time, and sometimes they did not (for example the “Little Ice Age”). Often it takes less to disrupt a less stable state. Store this idea away, as it will be useful later.
That is what apparently happened to the Patriarchy. The stable (but not really very stable) system was disrupted by feminism’s demands. These demands effectively constituted a coordinated set of “butterflies” driving it toward instability. Presently, the system (society) is not stable and is careening toward something else. It is difficult to see what that something else will be. That is the beauty and the frustration of chaotic systems.
In the next installment, the aspects of the Patriarchy that made society stable will be examined, as well as how they were undermined.