In the science of chaos, “attractors” are operational principles around which turbulence and apparent chaos are harmonized. What the limited nature of our prior experiences dismisses as randomness or disorder, the study of chaos and complexity is revealing as deeper patterns of regularity. Attractors help to identify the dynamics by which complex systems organize themselves. Thus, it could be said that an earthquake fault line serves as an “attractor” for geologic forces in plate tectonics, just as river systems are attractors for water engaging in its ongoing relations with the forces of gravity. At a social level, an estate sale can be seen as an attractor for antique dealers; dumpsites as attractors for abandoned property; or hospitals as attractors for diseases.
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