by Yuri Tarnopolsky and Ulf Grenander

Foreword (2006)

Most of this manuscript was finished by 1998.  In 2001 the world  entered a turbulent transition state toward an unknown future. In 2003 we added Chapter 28, A sunny day in September . 

Facing global uncertainty from many directionsóclimate change, energy constraints, new forms of warfare, borderless world, incompetence of governmentsówe need to look for a scientific consensus on complexity, as opposed to the divisive political, moral, and religious approaches. Testing the ideas of this book against the dramatic beginning of the twenty-first century, we feel confident that the pattern view of the world can be an effective way to understand the developing systems of unprecedented complexity.

The intent of this manuscript is to attract attention to Pattern Theory as the science of complex systems. Complexity as subject presumes a complex audience. The style reflects our desire to educate, stimulate, and  entertain, while introducing the reader to new and little known or forgotten ideas.

The manuscript does not reflect the recent developments in non-numerical Pattern Theory, among which Patterns of Thought  by Ulf Grenander should be mentioned in the first place. Patterns and Repertoire in History by Bertrand M. Roehner and Tony Syme ( Harvard University Press, 2002) was an important step toward the legitimization of the search for new ways in scientific study of history. Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed  (Viking, 2004) approaches the subject from a different angle but remarkably close to the spirit of Pattern Theory.

Our manuscript is a register of questions rather than answers, but, as the history of science demonstrates, the right question is half the answer.

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