Chaos, Catastrophe, and Human Affairs: Applications of Nonlinear Dynamics to Work, Organizations, and Social Evolution

By Stephen J. Guastello | Go to book overview

Epilogue:
Nothing Stops These Elephants

I refrained from summarizing the last chapter in hopes of gaining the momentum of a running start by summarizing everything else that transpired in this book. Evidence to support first premises of NDS, that seemingly random events are predictable with our new analytic concepts and mathematical models thereof, should be obvious by now. At the same time, some qualifications are in order. "Prediction" works well when modeling events over time when we have a whole event to look at. Prediction of future states is possible in the near term, but could decay rapidly as we try to extend further into the future. Part of the reason is that chaos itself is a state of relative unpredictability, but the presence of those times of unpredictability is predictable. Part of the limitation of future vision is that is assumes that future states will be based on the same dynamics that are operating in the present. Nowhere has such a guarantee ever been offered by anyone to anyone without crossing their fingers behind their backs. The limits of future vision were inherent in the concept of chaos from the outset and the nature of forecasting before chaos was ever conceptualized; it was not a discovery we actively pursued here. Rather, I am raising the issue to suggest that any elation about the new and useful insights into the dynamics of human social systems should be kept on a reasonable leash.


THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE

The support for any of the new theoretical developments come from logical connections between psychological (or other substantive) constructs, observations of behavior, and principles of NDS. In many places

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Chaos, Catastrophe, and Human Affairs: Applications of Nonlinear Dynamics to Work, Organizations, and Social Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments x
  • 1 - An Invitation to Chaos 1
  • Summary 10
  • 2 - Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Theory 11
  • Summary 57
  • 3 - Metaphors, Easter Bunnies, Modeling, and Verification 59
  • Summary 97
  • 4 - Nds, Human Decision Making, and Cognitive Processes 99
  • Summary 123
  • 5 - Dynamics of Motivation and Conflict 124
  • Summary 173
  • 6 - Stress and Human Performance 175
  • 7 - Accidents and Risk Analysis 205
  • Summary 231
  • 8 - Stress-Related Illness 232
  • Summary 256
  • 9 - The Evolution of Human Systems 257
  • Summary 298
  • 10 - Innovation, Creativity, and Complexity 301
  • Summary 328
  • 11 - The Dynamical Nature of Organizational Development 329
  • Summary 365
  • 12 - Chaos, Revolution, and War 367
  • Epilogue: Nothing Stops These Elephants 395
  • References 402
  • Author Index 426
  • Subject Index 435
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