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Chaos and Narrative

March 20, 2009

Is there a link between Chaos theory and Narrative tradition?

“An affordance is the product of the interaction between the learner and the environment. Each interaction potentially alters the knowledge and the identity of the learner, as well as the micro-ecology of the environment (paraphrasing Gibson)”.  (from

Are these interactions ‘deterministic’? Are the affordances deterministic?  Do we relive the stories of human experience? Is it an accident that we resonate with narrative, as told to and by us? Are we determined by our narratives? Do our narratives determine us?

Thoughts and questions for today….


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One Comment
  1. Hi, my main interest in affordances is to go beyond determinism, and into complexity, and complex adaptive networks. They way I understand affordances, within an ecological psychology framework)is that they are dynamic, emergent, complex, adaptive, and you can only ‘determine’ what they are retro-spectively (which is a general property of complex systems).

    “Determining” things ‘prospectively’ – i.e. within systems of predictability and control, is a matter of skills, technique, natural science (up to a point) and technolgy (when it works).

    The two, prospective and retrospective sense-making live side by side, its not a matter of either one or the other. Biology and physics, for example are both valid and useful, but different.

    Narratives are complex – we live within them, change them, and if we are not careful, they absorb us, and we cant see anything else – that’s both the excitement and the danger of the ‘Grand Narratives’ of the past, particularly the 20th Century, which has some pretty extreme ones. But reflective narratives can also be liberating.

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