269. Almost the same, almost forever (but not quite)

strange-attractor2Noth­ing in nature ever repeats itself. Not quite. No two heart­beats are ever the same. No two orbits of the earth around the sun are ever the same. No two human faces are ever the same, no two trees, or rocks or even motor cars. Often the dif­fer­ences are tiny, infin­i­tes­i­mal. We live com­fort­ably expect­ing the sun to rise tomor­row. Yet no math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tion can pre­dict when the orbit of one planet will be just dif­fer­ent enough, will cross a chaotic thresh­old and spin off into space alone, and throw us into the eye of the sun. No doc­tor can pre­dict when the never-quite-the-same oscil­la­tions of your heart mus­cle will become chaotic and kill you. And no for­tune-teller, priest, politi­cian or sci­en­tist can nav­i­gate you to a heaven in this life or any life gov­erned by the whim­si­cal paths of strange-attrac­tors.

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