Chaos makes a believer out of me  

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A few years ago, I believed that astrology was humbug, and clairvoyants, fools. I used to stifle a laugh when someone predicted the future. But now, here Iam, visiting astrology websites and reading the astrology column in newspapers. This transformation, I owe to The Chaos Theory.

Chaos theory is the study of complex non-linear dynamic systems. The word 'Chaos'is a misnomer since the chaos theory doesnot lay emphasis on the disorder of the system, but on the order inherent in the system.It deals with the sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Just a small change in the initial conditions can drastically change the long-term behavior of a system. This can be understood more clearly by 'The Butterfly Effect'.It states that 'The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month's time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen. Or maybe one that wasn't going to happen, does.'

This effect along with a study about fractals made me a believer in astrology. Fractals can be thought of as the images of chaos .Fractal has come to mean any image that displays the attribute of self-similarity. The figure below shows a fractal pattern called a Koch curve.
To create a Koch curve, imagine an equilateral triangle. To the middle third of each side, add another equilateral triangle. Keep on adding new triangles to the middle part of each side, and the result is a Koch curve. A magnification of the Koch curve looks exactly the same as the original. It is another self-similar figure.

All this may seem irrelevant to my transformation, but it is not. I felt that the solar system itself had a fractal pattern in it. Consider the structure of an atom. It has a nucleus at the centre around which electrons revolve in an orbit. Many atoms constitute to form the Earth. The earth can be imagined as a nucleus around which the 'electron' moon revolves. At the next level, the sun is at the centre around which the earth and the other planets revolve. This is surely a fractal pattern. Just as how a small change in the Koch curve would change the shape of the curve drastically, it is possible that the planetary position changes have an influence on each one of us. Thus astrology is a science; not a black-magic. But the question is whether man can accurately manipulate the planetary positions to predict future. Thats one thing Iam not certain about..

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