< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Chaos and Chairos

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chaos and Chairos

Hail to Federal Farmer for striking one of the first and earliest sparks in the firestorm over NSA lawbreaking, the New York Times, etc. More details on the substance itself in tomorrow's post, but for now let's celebrate FF's timeliness.

Consider two sets of circumstances, whether in the social-political or the natural environment . . .

Chaos refers to nonlinear mathematical functions, by which small differences between the two sets initial circumstances are amplified to become large dbifferences in outcome. The one pair of butterfly wings triggers the hurricane; the other, the gentle breeze.

Chairos defines the moment when the two different trajectories are first discerned and the different outcomes first recognized. By definition it arises late enough so that it is possible to detect with assurance which pathway leads where, but early enough so a choice between pathways can still be made. Such choices, as Robert Frost said, make "all the difference."

That is the context in which I view FF's post below: he has seen the impending destruction of the NYT, and has nudged it forward at just the moment of opportunity to make a difference. Bravo.