Patterns of Life

SnowflakeLife and existence are all about structure and patterns.  This is actually quite a profound concept.  Think about life without patterns.  Actually the universe as we know it could not exist without structure and patterns.  Structure is simply an expression of pattern.  Patterned structures are what bind the universe together.  Without structure there is pure chaos where nothing would be coherent.  There can be no matter in a universe of complete chaos.  Likely at the instant of the Big Bang there was no matter but total chaos and energy (which is governed by structured natural laws) concentrated at one spot being the universe.  But as the universe expanded and cooled down more order and less chaos started to evolve out of the apparent randomness.  That is because there is more inherent order in a much cooler universe consisting of reproducible patterns of matter that formed out of this apparent chaos where energy mutates into more stable and cohesive matter.

Science is all about the recognition, study, and modeling of the many patterns that exist in the universe as will as life on earth to better understand and predict the future.  The existence of living organisms is all about the patterns of life: survival strategies; reproduction; eating and hunting mechanics; cellular structures and functionality; chemical composition; and genetic DNA coding.  Higher life forms follow similar patterns of physiological structures and behaviors but are more complex and compartmentalized into organ systems.  Homo sapien’s primary distinction in this patterning is the capacity of his powerful brain allowing him to recognize patterns and develop increasingly more sophisticated expressions of it such as languages, the arts, cultures, religions, and the sciences and technologies.  Life for mankind is largely about the recognition and utilization of patterns.

But there is always a certain degree of chaos or randomness mixed in with order just as there is with the universe becoming less chaotic as it cools making life interesting as well as far more challenging.  Patterns are the predictable elements of life because they can be anticipated.  Customs and language are prime examples of our patterned cultural heritage essential for our social well being.  But there are also varying degrees of chaos which makes living and life somewhat unpredictable.  However it is the recognizable patterns in our lives which allow us to carry on most of our daily activities.  When minor chaos occurs in everyday life we must scramble to improvise and compensate for these irregularities.

The science of psychology studies the patterns of our behaviors and minds.  These patterns often seem irrational and unpredictable but there are patterns to irrational behaviors.  Criminology is an offshoot of psychology where patterns of the criminal mind are studies and utilized to identify and aid in the capture criminals.  Weather may seem somewhat unpredictable without the weather news but to the weather scientist who views satellite photos of earth, they can identify patterns of cloud formations and quite accurately predict weather events.

But when it becomes a major event such as a disaster we are often unprepared and at a loss how do deal with it which can pose a threat to our survival.  Some such event are so sudden that our brains simply cannot process the information.  But even in apparent chaos there are patterns.  There is a mathematical field called chaos theory that seeks to understand the patterns of apparent chaotic events initiated by subtle random events such as a butterfly’s flapping wings initiating a hurricane.  So there are always patterns in the midst of apparent chaos.  We can reduce the chaos of chaotic events by better understanding their patterns to properly preparing for them.  For example if one were trained in how it feels to be in an earthquake and what to do, one’s chances of survival might be greatly improved since training has prepared you to deal with the patterns of earthquakes and how to respond such as ducking under a table.  There are patterns for just about everything.

So life is largely about recognizing pattern and making predictions to reduce uncertainties.  We make plans and do tasks with varying degrees of confidence based upon our familiar with the patterns of that activity and their potential patterns of uncertainty.  Habits are based upon our own patterns of behavior.  We drive our cars to and from work every day without thinking where we are going or how we are driving.  However if a car were to suddenly swerve in front of us we might slam on the brakes or impulsively swerve into another lane potentially cause an accident.  That instant of chaos can overwhelm our brain from reacting rationally.  There are no recognizable patterns that the brain can assimilate in that fraction of a second so our mind react impulsively or simply shuts down.  If one were used to dealing with such sudden changes through training or repeated encounters with such circumstances one would be able to react less chaotically and more instinctively to such events due to the brain’s familiarity with the patterns of avoidance vastly reducing chaos and increasing the chances survival.

So life is largely about patterns.  Our minds are constantly trying to make sense out of life and identify patterns to help us cope with living more predictably.  We make contingency plans or train for when the unforeseen happens to become more familiar.  The more practiced we are with dealing with apparent chaos the better we can deal with such uncertainties which become more familiar and recognizable patters.  Survival is our prime directive in life and predicting the future plays a major role.

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One Response to Patterns of Life

  1. Pingback: Truth and The Universe We Think We Know | ouR Social Conscience

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