A few friends and I sat watching trash TV under the influence last night, and we inevitably started chatting to avoid the white noise facing us. Somehow this chat sparked off a chain of thoughts in me that apparently led to me constructing a view of the universe as a battle between chaos and order - clearly a well documented philosophy, but one I'd not studiously examined.

In any case, my leading conclusion was that on a scale of 0|----|N [0: absolute chaos, N: absolute order], our universe must be closer to 0 than to N (i.e. 'force of order' < (N/2)).

I'm aware that the faces of students of philosophy reading this will slowly be pulling a patronising smile (or gurn), but I'd appreciate your thoughts on it. Are there other universes with different ratios? What does philosophy have to say about what is function that results in these different ratios? What does this say about humanity's evolution beyond the current state where we are aware of our strong sense of individuality vs community, and can act according to interests that do not necessarily work towards 'survival' - or 'order'?

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    Do you dare ask this question on Physics SE? :^)
    – Drux
    Oct 11 '14 at 20:09
  • Maybe entropy could be the measure Oct 12 '14 at 12:05

I hate to rain on your parade ( I hope it was good stuff ), but our science and philosophy posits a formal law called The Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law says that our universe is moving from a state of order to a state of disorder, or chaos. Although nature (or ourselves) can intervene locally to impose order on the environment, the universe as a whole is becoming more chaotic as time passes.

It follows that the ratio of chaos to order increases as the age of the universe increases.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is sometimes refered to as The Arrow of Time. This is because it is the only part of mainstream science that allows us to identify a direction of time. All other mainstream theories are time-symmetric, meaning that they work equally well whether time is moving forward or backward.

So yes, it may be fair to say that there is a battle between order and chaos taking place in our universe, but ultimately chaos must win.

Regarding your question on other universes with different laws and ratios, there are scientists who theorise about such universes.


What you are thinking of as order is simply a sliver of events in time that appear orderly in the short term but are actually chaos in the long run. A sliver of time may look orderly, but it's not really.

To give an example. We are able to predict with a certain amount of certainty as to the orbits if the planets in the future. But we actually must update it occasionally as our predictive models are only so accurate as we make gross assumptions (classical 3 body problem) which in the long run may result in entirely different results. An inaccuracy of .000001% doesn't make any difference in our calculations for where the planets will be next year, but in 1,000,000,000 years, that inaccuracy may make the difference of Jupiter crashing into Earth.

Not sure why you think there is a 'balance' between order and chaos.........

  • Mm, I didn't think they were 50:50 'balanced', I more said that as an invitation for comment. Oct 13 '14 at 12:08

As a Discordian, I would argue that the very distinction between order and chaos is by definition subjective and mostly arbitrary :

The Aneristic Principle is that of apparent order; the Eristic Principle is that of apparent disorder. Both order and disorder are man made concepts and are artificial divisions of pure chaos, which is a level deeper than is the level of distinction making.

With our concept-making apparatus called “the brain” we look at reality through the ideas-about-reality which our cultures give us. The ideas-about-reality are mistakenly labeled “reality” and unenlightened people are forever perplexed by the fact that other people, especially other cultures, see “reality” differently.

It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T) True reality is a level deeper than is the level of concept. We look at the world through windows on which have been drawn grids (concepts). Different philosophies use different grids. A culture is a group of people with rather similar grids. Through a window we view chaos, and relate it to the points on our grid, and thereby understand it. The order is in the grid. That is the Aneristic Principle.

Western philosophy is traditionally concerned with contrasting one grid with another grid, and amending grids in hopes of finding a perfect one that will account for all reality and will, hence, (say unenlightened westerners) be true. This is illusory; it is what we Erisians call the Aneristic Illusion. Some grids can be more useful than others, some more beautiful than others, some more pleasant than others, etc., but none can be more True than any other.

Disorder is simply unrelated information viewed through some particular grid. But, like “relation”, no-relation is a concept. Male, like female, is an idea about sex. To say that male-ness is “absence of female-ness”, or vice versa, is a matter of definition and metaphysically arbitrary. The artificial concept of no-relation is the Eristic Principle.

The belief that “order is true” and disorder is false or somehow wrong, is the Aneristic Illusion. To say the same of disorder, is the Eristic Illusion. The point is that (little-t) truth is a matter of definition relative to the grid one is using at the moment, and that (capital-T) Truth, metaphysical reality, is irrelevant to grids entirely. Pick a grid, and through it some chaos appears ordered and some appears disordered. Pick another grid, and the same chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered.

Reality is the original Rorschach. Verily! So much for all that.

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    So two guys reformulated kantian thoughts in 1963 and felt being revolutionary and destinct from western tradition, wow. But I think you missed the main point, i.e. that reality is chaotic and the various conceptual grids are always only able to shed the light of order to some aspects of it, while in the end always deforming it. The (fundamental) chaos appears to be be ordered or chaotic in mere appearances, i.e. things transfigured by our "grids". Therefore, I think the chaos is not subjective, although things may appear subjectively chaotic or ordered, depending on the grid chosen.
    – Philip Klöcking
    May 23 '16 at 14:47
  • @PhilipKlöcking : As I see it, the main point is not that reality is chaotic, but that the distinction between chaos and order is mostly subjective / arbitrary... which makes the whole debate on whether reality is chaotic or not kinda moot. May 23 '16 at 14:54
  • 'Both order and disorder are man made concepts and are artificial divisions of pure chaos, which is a level deeper than is the level of distinction making.' and 'It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T) True reality is a level deeper than is the level of concept.' and 'Reality is the original Rorschach.' make quite obvious that 'Real True reality' is 'pure chaos', to name just three hints.
    – Philip Klöcking
    May 23 '16 at 14:59
  • @PhilipKlöcking : I think we're at the same page, but just using slightly different semantics... for reasons best explained by the fact that true reality is a level deeper than is the level of concept. May 23 '16 at 15:02
  • Actually, this makes the whole Principia Discordia mere metaphysical speculation at that point, falling back behind the great depth of kantian critical agnosticism.
    – Philip Klöcking
    May 23 '16 at 15:04

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