There are many definitions for Chaos
• Complete disorder and confusion.
• (physics) The formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe.
• (greek mythology) The first created being, from which came the primeval deities.
But in my life, Chaos can be defined a little differently.
• Chaos – The sight that greets me when I walk into the kindergarten dormitory, of 30 boys running, shouting, playing, fighting; in short the sight of kids being kids.
My mom was an ardent reader of the mythologies, and having been brought up on a staple diet of greek mythology, I tend to draw parallels.
The Greek epic poet Hesiod tells us in his Theogony (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C) of the origins and the genealogy of the Gods. At first it was Khaos (Chaos, the Chasm/Air) that came to be, and the other Protogenoi (primordial Gods) followed. From Khaos came Nyx (night) and Erebus (darkness), and from them came Aither (light) and Hemera (day). From Nyx came many Daimones (personified spirits) like Philotes (affection and friendship), Eris (strife), the Oneiroi (dreams), Momos (complaint), the Moirai (3 fates), amongst others.
That both darkness and light come from Chaos makes a lot of sense. We see it in our children all the time, in how they manage to transform from perfect angels to terrifying hellions. As they grow up, they develop their unique balance of personalities and characteristics. The Daimones here are the many characteristics they exhibit, because each child is capable of friendship, affection, strife and complaints depending upon what triggers they have experienced in that phase space. These little children of Chaos, like the Oneiroi are capable of seeing dreams and showing us dreams. More importantly, each child has within themselves the ability to weave the story of their lives, just like the three fates (Moirai); and the terrifying part is that in this mythology, we adults, like Zeus, are capable of altering the story that is being spun.
While on the subject of Chaos, let me bring another definition here, as defined in Chaos Theory.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us that dynamic systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions, a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect, and thus even a small difference in initial conditions can yield widely diverging outcomes, and that even complex systems rely upon an underlying order.
While many consider this an over stretch, I prefer to go with the psychotherapists who believe that early childhood influences on our adult experiences have parallels to the scientific concept of Chaos theory.
So once again, much like Zeus in Greek mythology, our actions have the power to affect these little children right through till their adulthood.
Coming back to my children, here’s what I surmise.
Each child’s life starts with a different story, and when they come to the orphanage they are in a state of disorder and chaos. The institute manages to introduce some order and sate the chaos for a while. But this is a dynamic system, and once again the individual and collective behaviours of others in the group serve as a flutter of the butterfly’s wings, that escalate into a gale-force wind of emotional chaos that pummels the unconscious mind of the adult. We, as the butterflies, can chose what kind of flutter we will create in that child’s life, thereby making the difference between what comes out of the Chaos, Nyx (darkness) or Aither (light), Philotes (friendship) or Eris (strife).
Chaos or Khaos is the chasm between Heaven and Earth. It is up to us to Mind the Gap.