I have been working on a book for quite sometime now. The working title is "God the Attractor: Spiritual Lessons from the Newest Science." The thesis of the book is that the many desires we experience in life - for people, places, things and experiences - are due to an organizing principle, an Attractor, at work in our life, tugging us toward the life we are meant to lead.
In earlier posts, I have shown examples of attractors which govern the dynamics of physical systems, such as the Lorenz attractor discovered by Edward Lorenz while searching for a simple model of the weather. The Attractor I envision for our own life is similar: it is created by the behavior of that system and, yet, paradoxically, governs the system’s behavior in much the same way a gravitational field is created by, and yet governs, the motions of a planet. Much more complex than gravity, however, the attractor nudges and urges a dynamic system (such as an individual, organization or nation) into ever more complex and evolved behaviors.
As I have worked with this concept I have become increasingly attracted (so to speak) to its possibilities for helping us understand what can be confusing times of life. For one thing, attractors undergo dramatic changes in shape and form that are known as bifurcations. When a bifurcation happens, the fundamental character of the attractor changes, leading to deep and fundamental changes in the character of the trajectories governed by that attractor.
The behaviors that were stable and desirable before the bifurcation become unstable and undesirable afterward. New attractions take the place of the old – this is evidence that a new attractor has come into existence. By the time we reach adulthood, all of us have gone through many bifurcations, including puberty, leaving home, perhaps becoming a parent or being diagnosed with a serious illness. In each of these cases, the attractor governing our life before the bifurcation point ceases to exist and is replaced by a new attractor, one whose form and influence on our life is not always immediately apparent.
I hope to explore more concepts from this book project, a work-in-progress, in future posts on this blog. Your comments are, as always, very welcome.
Today's image is from Chaoscope, software for 3D rendering of attractors.