"A collision of forces occur when boundaries are eliminated. . . "
Nachume Miller, speaking about his painting at the
1988 show at the Museum of Art.
The term fuzzy is being used as a modern way to describe the metaphorical shades of gray areas that exist between two extremes. The term can be applied to practically anything from the temperature of water, to the overlapping shades of colors. The pinwheel pictured above is a good example of the concept of fuzziness. As the speed of the wheel is increased within its precision, we see it becomes out of focus or "fuzzy"; its structures and divisions become blurred and run into one another as if it were changing into something new.

Fuzziness is becoming important because, in this age of digital computers, binary systems that provide true/false, on/off, yes/no choices, as Bart Kosko, best selling author of Fuzzy Thinking explains, "Human minds are not digital processors. Our concepts are fuzzy to the core and our reasoning approximate. Those with the most power tend to draw the hard lines. Politics is all about drawing hard lines and backing them with the force of the law. Binary logic has always been the logic of power." Kosko believes these hard lines are beginning to break down as Fuzzy designed technology enters into the picture.

Since our computer systems are not yet tailored to the way our minds work, or are anywhere near having the raw processing power of the human brain - fuzzy is also a term to describe the bridge being created between the computer processor and the human brain. Fuzzy systems learn patterns, and react based on these type of variables. A good example of fuzzy technology is voice activated systems, that learn the pattern of a person's voice and language patterns, to perform word processing functions. Kosko believes that as fuzzy technology accelerates, it will have a profound effect on our thinking in everything from our political system, down to our very social fabric which historically has relied upon a binary, hard lined type of logic. Ultimately, Kosko believes nanocomputer chips may one day be placed within the human brain to accelerate and enhance its functions.

The New Aesthetic of Chaos and the Human Brain

In the interim of bridging the gap between mind and binary computer systems with fuzzy concepts, neuroscientists are using computers and their immense calculating power to unlock the hidden structures within the brain. These mega computers have helped to uncover what is considered to be a new aesthetic approach to science that practically merges science and art together -- with breathtakingly beautiful patterns of Chaos that show how our minds really operate.

In his book "Fractals - the Patterns of Chaos", author John Briggs interviewed Paul Rapp, neuroscientist at the Medical College
of Pennsylvania, who described with the enthusiasm of an artist his reaction to the fractal "plot" based on EEG data shown below.

An EEG showing the "Strange Attractor" of
of a Woman Relaxing

One of the discoveries of Chaos Theory is that the brain is in fact organized by chaos. While the brain's electrical activity is chaotic and unpredictable, it has a hidden order in that it is attracted to a certain region of the plot space. Strange attractors are fractal patterns made by a dynamical system exhibiting chaos. Rapp explained the discovery of these fractal "strange attractors" in the brain:

"The emotional impact of the EEG images is, for me, rather considerable. For the first time we are able to see the changes in the geometry of EEG activity that occur as the result of human cognitive activity. Before these attractors had been constructed I didn't know what to expect. I expected to see something very boring that did not significantly change as the subject began to think. The moment these structures flooded onto the screen and began to rotate, I knew that I was seeing something very extraordinary."

Researchers are becoming increasingly aware that pathology is related to loss of "natural" background chaos in the body. While an epileptic seizure may look from the outside like an attack of chaos, from inside the brain it is an attack of abnormally periodic "order."

Information derived from:
You can purchase these books at the
Brain Channels Book Store:

Fractals - The Patterns of Chaos, John Briggs
Simon & Schuster, 1992

Fuzzy Future, Bart Kosko
Harmony Books, 1999