On learning from nature

There is often an unspoken assumption that things should go smoothly in life, or that the Universe has a direct plan for us, and that it communicates it easily. Consequently,  we get upset that things are not always that straightforward. When things go wrong we can often regard it as a violation of some supposed natural entitlement to order and predictability. However, if we look at the natural world we do not find complete support for this underlying assumption. The recent turbulence in the weather, and the natural disasters of this past year,  demonstrate that things in nature are frequently unpredictable and disruptive.  So we should not expect anything different in our lives. Bad things can happen and our lives can change, in ways that we cannot predict. Things happen in indirect ways, and reasons are not always immediately evident. Patience is needed if we wish to understand or work out what is our path.

Clouds are not spheres,  Mountains are not cones, 

Coastlines are not circles and bark is not smooth,

nor does lightning travel in a straight line. 

Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity.

Benoit Mandelbrot, French-American  mathematician.


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