The Bottom Line: The world we see is emergent from simple rules on smaller scales, just like this book.
It may seem in retrospect as though our current reality was to some extent predetermined. After all, there is a direct fossil lineage linking human beings to the earliest life. Yet when it comes to complex chaotic systems such as those of living systems, this could not be farther from the truth. The path taken by elements of any living system are contingent on the tiniest details of history, sequence, and random happenstance. The apparent solidity of past causality and directionality is an illusion created by the human mind to retroactively impose a degree of order which does not exist. As we will see there are reasons for this teleological worldview. What is important here is to acknowledge the role of chance and happenstance in how events actually unfold. The stories we are told about past events are presented as narratives with simple, well-known causal chains which appear to have proceeded with linear inevitability. Yet those who know the most about the details of
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