Like a lot of people, I have a small collection of still-born novels mouldering away on a long-cold back burner. A while ago I uploaded them and a lot of the supporting notes to Google Docs and Spreadsheets so that I could dip into them, regardless of my location, and perhaps pick one of them up. That hasn't happened yet but I'd forgotten how good some of it is. Don't get me wrong, a lot of it is inexcusable rubbish, but some of it is actually pretty good.
Events in history do not occur in isolation, they have causes and they have effects. We talk about chains of events as if history proceeds as streams of occurrences laid neatly one after another in time, but an event might have many causes and a multiplicity of effects. A king or a president does not send his subjects hundreds or thousands of miles to kill the subjects of other kings or presidents for a single reason. He will have as many reasons as he has advisors and pressure groups, and those actions will certainly not be restricted in their number of effects. Some of these effects will be inert, fading instantly from history’s stage, but many will persist, at least long enough to act as causes for future events.In this way then, events are connected, not as a bunched steel rope of neatly twisted chains, but as a sprawling hyper-connected network of causality; each event, each node in the network, feeding back into its neighbours to stimulate tomorrow’s present. History is the emergent property of this causal network as it rolls its blind progress along the path of time. We have studied the behaviour of networks like these and, to cover our lack of understanding, our inability to see its sense, we have named it.
We call it Chaos, because we have out-grown fate.