Patterns of Life

I remember when I first noticed the existence of patterns. Everywhere I looked, I discovered patterns. I did not immediately realise it, but I had discovered the concept of chaos theory. Initially, for a number of years, I never bothered to understand its principles, assuming that it was all about chaos – and I had a preconceived notion that the answer cannot lie in chaos, because that would mean randomness rules. That would have meant luck was the Master of the Universe, and I did not want to face that. Fortunately, I could not have been any more wrong.

Habits are patterns. Personalities are habituated behavioural patterns. Culture is patterns of behaviour and norms. Mathematics is all about formulae that describe specific patterns or rules. So is Biology. Every imaginable phenomenon that you can see or experience has an underlying rule or formula that determines the phenomenon or behaviour. All psychological ailments are simply defective patterning, and all counselling is an attempt to re-pattern. Ditto the athlete and the coach. The graduate on the fast-track and the drunk on the park bench. The geese flying in formation, the flock of seagulls fighting over a french fry. The peak hour traffic, the milling of a crowd at the sports stadium. The shape of snow flake, the coastline. The serial killer. The cereal floating in a bowl of milk. Patterns everywhere you’d care to look and a billion places you wouldn’t.