Richard Dyer

For the first time I can remember I had the feeling that all of my shells and protections, which normally produce a certain distance and separation from life, had been completely removed ... It seemed that my entire life had been spent behind a sheet of glass that had become grimier and grimier over time, and all of a sudden the glass had been whisked away and the universe was before me with a new and startling clarity.

D M Turner after smoking Salvinorin A1 with LSD

The sex was good. Every time. They both knew it, but neither wanted to discuss it, just in case talking about it would somehow neutralise its energy. The first time had been extraordinary. The second — with the help of PEA2 — had been astonishing. And after, they had remained close for hours, without sleeping, without talking. Sylvan had been able to see a clear image of Eles's face through his closed eyelids, it was as if his eyes were open, but he knew they were tightly shut. He had experienced this phenomenon before, when in a state of extreme exhaustion, but this time he had put it down to the drug. He was able to study Eles's face in minute detail, the lake-blue liquidity of her gorgeous eyes, the pale creamy softness of her skin, slightly flushed in the aftermath of orgasm, the juicy, plump cherry flesh of her lips. The strange thing was that the image of her face was unmoving, as if his mind had taken a snap-shot and held it up for his examination.

The beautiful image was snapped away by the sudden explosion of the telephone's tone, its pulsing ring making them both jump simultaneously. Sylvan reluctantly disengaged from their embrace and rolled onto his back, the clock glowed five-thirty two, they must have been in bed for hours. He looked over at Eles who was rubbing her eyes, which had been closed. As he had left the answer-machine off the telephone continued to jangle. He snatched up the receiver and waited without saying a word, his silence standing in for annoyance.

'Sylvan? Is that you? Eles?'

'Yes, it's me, what?'

'Nice to speak to you too. Look, you've both got to come round, now! This is really, really exciting, you just won't believe what's just happened.'

Sylvan raised his eyebrows and looked over at Eles with a sceptical smirk.

'Look, we're quite tired Dee, totally shattered; in fact we're in bed, know what I mean? Can't it wait till later?'

'It can't wait.' Dee was emphatic, his voice edged with a bristling excitement which was slowly seeping down the fibre-optics to Sylvan, his second glance transmitted some of the excitement and curiosity to Eles.

'Ok, give us half an hour. Can't you tell us what it is?'

'No. You just have to come over, now!'

Eles sleepily untangled herself from the sheets and uncoiled her beautiful nakedness into the shuttered room. She could never walk past Sylvan naked without his gaze following her until she was out of sight. She revelled in its warmth as she slipped on tiny feet to the bathroom.

Dee always had something up his sleeve she thought, some new project, a strange new drug for them to try, a computer program that would change everything, a supplement that would double their intelligence, a group who were carrying out scientific experiments as performance art; always something new. Often they were disappointed, the result rarely lived up to the promise, but they tolerated Dee nevertheless. He was charming, far too witty for his own good, and, she thought as her stomach gave a low rumble, a great cook; surly he would be rustling up something special for them tonight? He always had a fridge groaning with enough food for a large family, even though he lived on his own. Her growing hunger added speed to her ablutions and an involuntary smile to her soapy face.

That was how it had started. And as Sylvan's gaze crept around the room like a badly beaten dog he could barely believe the innocence and banality of the events which had led to this moment, to this room, with its scene of utter horror and strangeness.

From somewhere he could hear Eles whimpering in a slow gurgling lament, oddly tinged with pleasure, he could not turn his head to where the sound came from as he no longer had a head, or in fact a body, as such. The pain which he felt washing through his mind was like the sweet pain just before the moment of ejaculation, but never reaching a conclusion, like hot wax poured into cold water it mapped out the form of something tangible in the formless ocean which had become his being.

His vision suddenly clouded and once more he was sucked into a well of darkness, Eles's voice receded into the distance until it was indiscernible from the background noise of a million humming bees, melodious and menacing in their fluctuating amplitude. He felt waves of nausea in what would have been his stomach, his instinct was to clutch the churning sensation, but — no hands.

From somewhere — a slight variation in the intensity of the humming curtain which surrounded him — a vague notion of a limb began to form, Sylvan could not tell if he was imagining it, remembering it, or actually feeling it. He tried to help the sensation coalesce into something more substantial, but still the waves of pain washed over him, stronger each time, promising infinite pleasure, but only delivering a fresh cargo of unmediated agony. He found that each time a wave of pain reached its zenith there was a moment just before when he could 'use' it to increase the substantiality of his notional hand, for now he could be almost certain that it was a hand. After two or three more waves of pain he had managed to channel enough of its bitter-sweet energy into his vestigial hand to actually become aware of what he could now confidently call a finger. Although the rest of his body had seemingly dissolved in some strange psychic necrosis he could begin to entertain the notion that he might at least have a future as an eye and a hand; like some grotesque surrealist doodle he envisioned himself moving through this new biomorphic universe in his new form — at least being able to see and to touch. If he could somehow reach out and touch something, then he would know that there was hope, well, a hope of sorts. He suddenly thought of Eles; was she still 'alive'? Was she fearing any better than him? Why had they listened to Dee? This time his crazy ideas had actually worked, or almost.

Eles pressed her thumb against the zinc plate to the left of the front door, there was a moments hesitation then a digitised voice flatly intoned 'Eles; please come in.' Dee had to have the latest available technological gadgets, and with his mysterious but seemingly limitless income he had them all, and he had them first. At present the voice recognition entry system was only available at Embassies and government buildings, but Dee had somehow got hold of one. He had only programmed it to recognise and admit a few very close friends, and there was no one closer to him than Sylvan and Eles, and of course Cybin, his Danish lover, who had grown so close so quickly that everyone thought they had been together for years. In fact, they were soon to celebrate their first anniversary.

Dee was like that. He drew people to him, then he drew them closer, when he felt them backing of he would back of to, but just a little further, so that they would feel the taut thread of their friendship stretch just a little too far and would come willingly bouncing back, like a ball on elastic, but this time even closer.

'Darlings! Come in, come in, so, so good to see you, God have I got a surprise for you two!'

'Dinner?' Eles offered hopefully.

'Of course, of course, but there's something else, I think you two are going to love it, it's spectacular, I mean out of this world, or rather right in it! I've been working on something, something really special, and I wanted you two to be the first to try it, and Cybin of course.'

Sylvan and Eles were both now in a state of great anticipation and curiosity, they had never seen Dee quite so animated. Cybin was in the drawing room, naked. Having grown up in a naturist family she always found it hard to wear clothes when at home. She greeted them with hugs and kisses and excited purring and cooing, completely unselfconsciously. After a few minutes she thought she had better put something on, just so they were all in the same state, although she would much rather that the others join her in hers.


'Oh yea!' Sylvan and Eles replied as one.

Cybin's appropriately named 'Naked, Frozen, Clean, Dry Martinis'3 were ledgend. A Danish variation on the American classic. The gin — Bombay Sapphire, or better still Finsbury — 60% alcohol, if it could be tracked down — glasses and glass stirring rod were from the freezer, the vermouth — Noilly Pratt, nothing else, the lemons for the spray of oil, unwaxed and organic and the olives had been rinsed and marinated in gin — were from the fridge. No ice entered the equation — this would only unnecessarily dilute the gin, and there was no nonsense of shaking, just a quick stir with the frozen glass rod. The whole crystalline ensemble, an alchemy of alcohol, completed by a judicious squeeze and wipe of the pith-less lemon rind around the rim of the glass.

As they sat around the big glass table, sipping in slow, cold ecstasy, Dee waxed lyrical about the wonderful, almost mystical properties of Cybin's Martinis. How the merest hint of dry vermouth — carefully added to the bottom of the glass with a laboratory standard glass dropper — had alchemically altered the structure of the gin to produce a psychically transformative elixir. And as they drank and talked and laughed it did indeed seem to the small intimate group that they had subtly been transported into another world, seemingly similar to the one they had just left but altered in ineffable, magical ways.

As always the conversation soon turned to Dee's endless experiments in altered states of consciousness and virtual reality. The first Martini had done its work, and now Dee was in a state of almost manic excitement.

'You see, what I've finally achieved is a way of exteriorising the interior landscape of an altered state of consciousness, and once the subjective environment is manifest outside of the person generating it, it then becomes accessible to others, do you see the implications? It's extraordinary! My most intimate and private experiences become those of anyone-else, and if several people are all shearing their subjective experiences together they create an environment, a universe, which is a sort of collective, alternate reality, this is what everyone from Buddha to Timothy Leary to William Gibson have been trying to envision for centuries.'

'How? How have you done it? Show us, I want to have a go!' Eles said excitedly, her second Martini spilling over the edge of the glass, its icy trail snailing across the back of her fingers; she resisted the temptation to like it off, enjoying the cool shape of the precious liquid and the slight stickiness as the gin evaporated and the residue rapidly dried.

'Ok, ok, but this is serious, it could be, well, dangerous. I'm still at the very early stages of this, but I know it will work — I've tried it on myself already. But I need others to do it with me, to verify my results if you like, and if it's really happening then this is going to be big, very big, I mean the biggest thing ever!'

They were in Martini heaven now, and fired by a child-like excitement and sense of play that always arose when the four of them were together, they pushed on eagerly to unknown waters. All thoughts of dinner evaporated with the third Martini — the 'Mona Lisa'4 — and they urged Dee to reveal his new and startling discovery.

'Ok, let's do it! Come through into the laboratory.'

Dee's 'Laboratory' had started out as a studio when he was still making art, then it had been transformed into a 'Study' as his cross-referential reading programme reached mammoth proportions. It had finally been incarnated as 'The Laboratory' as it filled with banks of super-computers, dentists chairs with strange additions — motorcycle helmets with solenoids attached, wired up to electromagnetic field generators, virtual reality head-sets plugged into the big computer in the centre of the room, data suits and gloves hung on clothes racks like the discarded shell of some futuristic hybrid of man and cyborg crustacean. In one corner of the lab Dee had constructed a small room which contained an isolation tank, here was where he did all his 'thinking', silently floating in ten inches of Epsom salt solution at body temperature, in complete darkness and silence.6

'It came to me one night in the tank,' Sylvan said as he led them into the largest room in the flat, its fantastic contents awash with electric-blue light, halfway between a contemporary art installation, a laboratory and a film-set for some Hollywood science-fiction extravaganza.

'I had been reading Ilya Prigogine's writings on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction. Four chemicals are mixed together in a shallow dish at a specific temperature, very quickly the mixture begins to self-organise into a structure of concentric and spiralling waves which spread and pulsate with clock-like regularity, it changes colours at precise intervals, it's incredible! The process is entirely chemical and yet very similar to those of animate matter, remaining stable and secreting more and more 'cells' in a self-renewing and self-transforming process that is like the growth of a living system.7

'There in the darkness before my eyes in the tank I suddenly experienced a perfectly coherent, three-dimensional hallucination of a gigantic human cerebellum, it was washed by waves of bio-electricity and fluxes of nuro-chemicals, in perfect three-dimensional fractal kaleidoscopes, just like in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky experiment, I suddenly realised that the brain is the ultimate dissipative structure, with the correct influx of energy the brain can be destabilised in a controlled way, made subject to internal fluctuations and then these fluctuations can be amplified until the structure — the brain, the mind — suddenly shifts, like a kaleidoscope falling into a new pattern and the brain spontaneously transforms itself into a new state, more ordered, more coherent, more complex, more interconnected, more highly evolved than before. After that revelation it was just a matter of hooking up existing technologies and psychoactive agents in a completely new configuration.'

The small group had fallen silent, enthralled by Dee's break-neck monologue. Sylvan, whose mind had that special expansive clarity which occurs between the second and third Martini hitched a conversational ride on Dee's rant.

'So what does all this mean, what did you do, what did you make?'

'What is it we all want Sylvan? When we eat, when we talk, when we make love, when we dance or swim or fight or get drunk or high? What are we really trying to do? We want to get closer. We want to get closer to who we are, what we're really thinking, closer to each other, closer to the world. I think the yearning for intimacy is the fourth primal drive, after the instinct to survive, the instinct to reproduce, and the instinct to move towards entropy, to die. But I think this drive is even more powerful than the other three, it's like a meta-drive, it drives all the other drives, think about it; when are we closer to ourselves than at the moment of death? When are we closer to another person than when we are having sex with them? Perhaps the drive is not really away from pain, towards pleasure but just towards — pain or pleasure, as long as we are approaching closer to what we see as "out there", outside the ego. We are all really close, ok? But imagine if we could be even closer, if we could all share the same mental environment, if you could feel through my fingertips, if Eles's orgasm was Cybins, if my thought was your vision, my pleasure yours, my pain all of yours? With the new configuration of my system, I think I have made a machine that can do just that; break down the final barriers, take away the glass wall that surrounds us all. We won't be separate anymore, male or female, in the body or out of it, with it, in each other. Imagine a sort of trans-gendic bio-plasmic engine, one which will reconfigure our neural and physical systems in such a way that all of us become all of us, a new conception of being, all together, all one'.

'Hey!' exclaimed Eles, 'You're going far and fast; this sounds scary, I mean, I love Prigogine's stuff, but you're talking about actually inducing a destabilised mental state just to see if it "escapes to a higher order", the alternative is that you induce a state of dissolution and chaos, like a mental breakdown.'

'But I've worked on the maths, the chances of chaos, breakdown and entropic reflux are just 2%, honestly it's worth it, I know, I've tried it.'

'With Cybin?' Eles's eyes widend.

'No, with Timothy.'

'With your cat!' You'r crazy, crazy, what happened?'

'It was incredible. I became — Cat. Cat became me, we became Man-Cat, Cat-Man, and Cat-Man do feel good! I mean, we were both cat and man and at the same time neither and both; and something else. I felt something else at the edge of the experience, something I couldn't quite put my finger on — or my paw -- something strange but exciting, just out of the corner of my eye, at the tip of my whiskers, so to speak. After the program kicked in I was suddenly, in one moment, Timothy, I felt — it's indescribable — but I felt, sensed, another cat, fifty yards away in the street through my whiskers. I felt the fur on my back bristle and stand on end at the presence of this other feline. Timothy must have been quite near to the other cat, I'd attached a portable receiver to his collar and a miniature headset as a temporary transcutanial implant. It was incredible; suddenly I was in the most vicious cat fight you could imagine, I actually felt "cat-pain" — which is different to our pain — as the claws of the other cat ripped into my cat-flesh, this was yesterday, look'. Dee lifted his tee shirt and showed them four large red welts on his rib cage, 'It must me some sort of stigmata reaction, the image experienced in the mind being so powerful that it has an actual physical effect on the body.'

'Sylvan, we've got to try it!' Eles was way into the last third of her third Martini, Sylvan was still sipping his second and therefore rather more cautious, but soft cat paws of excitement were gently palping at the pit of his stomach, mumpling the ripe pink muscle of his curiosity. Eles was right, they had to try it; imagine, not Timothy the cat but Eles, Dee, Cybin and Sylvan, all together -- really together.

The tip of his finger — which now felt more like 'him' than any other part of the deconstructed universe of his being — touched, or rather 'tasted' something sticky and sharp, like the bracing tang of citrus oil warmed in the aromatic cradle of an ethonolic whisper. His finger tongued its way around the shape of the taste, losing itself in the complexities of juniper, star anise, dandelion root and the faint but insistent tug of a peppery, oakey ester which hinted at the syrupy thickness of green Chartreuse, but was, something else, lighter, always in the company of, of ... Gin! he was tasting, feeling, becoming, Martini. The extraordinary sensation of becoming the sensation he was experiencing spread throughout his body — for surly now he did have a body -- like the warm glow of the first Martini spreading out from the pit of the stomach to the tips of the fingers, he felt his shoulder emerging from the top of his arm, his spine painfully, but deliciously taking form from the root of his shoulder blade, whipping down into the root of his pelvis, shedding a cascade of glistening ribs, ribs leaking muscle into the spaces between them, new bloody cavities filling with luminous, liquescent viscera, veins and arteries twisting and burrowing into unknown territories of flesh, blood, new blood, blood saturated with the most exquisite, vibrating, life-giving Martini, coursing violently and joyously through new veins, to new chambers of a new heart, his heart pumping crazily, violently, dangerously as his newly-born, raw, delicate, pulsating body slumped to the laboratory floor, as if from a great height. His head bumped painfully against the side of the desk and from his lungs escaped a wail like an ice-berg slipping into a lake of hot lava.

Soon Dee was busily strapping them all into data-suits, gloves, HMDs, and crazily tapping strings of symbols and programming instructions into the super-computer. When everyone was ready — or as ready as they would ever be -- Dee took out a large aluminium brief-case like a photographers lens case; but when he opened it the contents were much more sinister than camera equipment -- if equally as invasive. A huge syringe, glass and gleaming chrome, lay in a bed of grey foam, next to it four vials of a clear, light greenish-yellow liquid. Affixing a new needle each time, Dee injected the full contents of a single vial into each psychonaute's slightly shaking arm; lastly his own — he would have to have a couple of minutes extra to start the final program.

'Visors down, headphones on, lie back and relax; I'll see you on the inside...'

Dee slumped into the chair in front of the terminal, slightly fogged by the huge injection of Salvinorin A. He knew he had to remain focused for a few moments before he joined the others on the couches where they were now already spinning under the thin skin of a sudden coma which would soon peel back to reveal a new world, at once terrifying and beautiful in its richness and complexity.

Eles was next to him on the floor. Shattered test tubes and flasks littered the floor along with the remains of the headsets, now a tangled heap of cables and melted plastic, like some unknown species of octopus, mutilated beyond recognition. She moaned softly, slowly becoming conscious; suddenly she coughed violently, choking on the fluid in her lungs and was suddenly, shockingly awake. They rolled into each other's arms and clung tight, what was left of their clothing drenched in sweat, blood and unidentifiable fluids.

'Are you alright?'

The question seemed ludicrous in the circumstances, but had to be asked, if only to give them some sort of anchor in the rocking sea of the reality that they hoped they had managed to return to.

'I... I'm ok, I think, are we really back?'

'I think so; God, that was so... odd, I think we nearly died.'

'What about Dee and Cybin?'

Suddenly they were aware that Dee was still strapped into his dentist's chair, and he was not moving. Bizarrely Cybin was half in, and half out of the refrigerator. Sylvan managed to haul himself into a sitting position, and then gradually and painfully to stand. He staggered across the room like a three Martini drunk, dragging the remains of the still attached headset behind him, wiping the blood from his eyes. Cybin groaned as he gently pulled her from the fridge, her head almost submerged in a large bowl of vodka lime jelly.

'My head, my head! So hot I thought it was going to explode,' she sputtered, green jelly dripping from her face.

'What happened? Something happened,' and then suddenly, 'Dee!'

Cybin hauled herself across the room and started tugging at the straps holding Dee into the chair, all the time urgently calling his name and gently slapping his face. His eyes flickered open, and, amazingly, a smile broke out across his sweating face.

'It worked!'

Dee completed the start-up of the programme with just enough delay for him to reach the other side of the room and strap himself into the fourth couch. He pulled the headset down over his eyes and fixed the headphones in place. Immediately he was plunged into an infinite blue void, the colour of a cloudless, summer-day sky. His ears filled with the hiss of white noise and his body sank deep into the couch. The Sylvinorin A suddenly kicked in as the phased binaural beats started to pulse rhythmically somewhere in the centre of his skull; twelve Hertz in one ear, five in the other, he heard a virtual seven, entraining him into the theta brainwave state of hypnagogic imagery and hallucination. The experiment had begun.

1 The psychoactive component of the plant Salvia Divinorum.

2 Phenylethylamine, a legal drug, which when inhaled results in enhanced brain activity, a sensation of heat in the head, a slightly stoned sensation which lasts about ten minutes, followed by a very good mood for two to three hours, it is found in small quantities in coffee and chocolate but can also be synthesised and concentrated.

3 This variation on the classic Martini is a favourite of Martini purists. It is 'naked' due to the fact that it contains no water in the form of dissolved ice and is therefore extremely strong, 'clean' because the olives being rinsed and marinated in gin bring no saline solution with them to 'contaminate' the mixture and dry due to the very small quantity of vermouth used in its making. The high obtained from one of these Martinis — if well made — is unlike that of any other alcoholic drink.

4 The third Martini is known as 'The Mona Lisa' as it elicits a particular smile on the face of the imbiber that even the most catastrophic disaster cannot wipe off.

5 At its most basic the HMD consists of a pair of stereo TV monitors mounted in a frame, such that one is held in position in front of each eye, with the correct lenses, so that the viewer sees whatever imagery is presented in three-dimensional, stereoscopic vision. This technology has advanced to such a degree that recent helmets offer a complete, seamless, visually immersive presentation of a three-dimensional world.

HMD's are usually used in conjunction with stereo headphones that present a synchronised sound-track to the imagery being viewed. The second most important development is the data-glove. A single glove worn on the dominant hand of the subject is equipped with sensors such that a virtual simulacrum of the subjects hand is 'seen' to move in exactly the same way and at the same time as their real hand, but in the virtual environment. A later, vastly superior development of the data-glove is the whole-body data-suit, a complete one-piece suit, a little like a divers scuba suit, with gloves, socks and a helmet covering any part of the head and face which is not covered by the HMD. The suite is equipped with hundreds of thousands of sensors which thus enable the subject to 'see' a complete surrogate image of his body in the virtual environment. But the data-suite can go further. It can also be equipped with hundreds of tiny bladders which can be individually or collectively inflated or deflated with air, or a silicone gel, in order to give the subject the impression of touch, weight, pressure and even impact. The inflation or deflation is controlled by a computer to minutely coincide with the tactile and visual imagery which is being experienced in the virtual environment.

6 See the pioneering work of Dr John Lilly as described in Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer, Julian Press, 1972, who carried out the first scientific experiments with sensory deprivation at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, in a tank constructed in World War II, originally to carry out experiments on the metabolism of underwater swimmers. He found that by depriving the brain of all external stimulus, sight, sound, hearing and touch, instead of switching off — as many scientists at the time thought it would — began to generate its own internal imagery, plunging the participant into virtual worlds of its own creation.

The crude tank of the 1950s has developed into the highly sophisticated 'Flotation Tank' of today's alternative health centre. I quote him speaking in the third person from his autobiography The Scientist (1988): 'He found that he could have voluntary control of these states; that he could have, if he wished, waking dreams, hallucinations; total events could take place in the inner realities that were so brilliant and so "real" they could possibly be mistaken for events in the outside world.'

7 Ilya Prigogine: Russian-born Belgian theoretical chemist who carried out research into thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that in any energy interchange there is a constant decrease in the amount of energy available to perform useful work, this law is also true of the universe which will move irreversibly towards decay and disorder — entropy. But Prigogine found that this law was only applicable to closed systems, most living organisms are open systems. Life moves towards order, away from chaos, in contradiction to the second law of thermodynamics. Pregogine stated that in open system's life arises because of disorder, not in spite of it, because living systems exchange matter and energy with the outside environment, exporting entropy to the environment. He concluded that ordered structures were an inevitable product of far-from-equilibrium situations (equilibrium being the term used for entropic systems which have returned to a state of dissolution where all molecules are in random motion.) He called the structures that emerged dissipative structures, he went on to win the Nobel prize for these discoveries.

Dissipative structures continually take in energy and matter from the environment, they must pass fluctuating amounts and kinds of energy and matter through themselves that causes the structure itself to fluctuate, up to a certain point the structure can absorb these fluctuations, dissipate the energy and still maintain its internal organisation. Beyond this point the structure becomes more and more unstable. As the fluctuations increase the structure reaches a critical point, it is highly unstable, like a complex machine that is on the verge of flying apart, maintaining its structure by the barest of margins. Perturbed by fluctuations, the elements of the system have increased interactions as they are brought into contact with other elements of the system in new ways. This razor's edge is the point where the system has the potential to move in an almost infinite variety of unpredictable directions.

At this point even a small fluctuation can be sufficient to push the elements of the system beyond the point where they can heal themselves. Then suddenly the entire system seems to shudder and fall apart. In some cases the system may be destroyed. But if the system survives, it survives by emerging from this point of collapse — what Pregogine calls the bifurcation point — in a new pattern. The elements of the system — having increased their interactions with each other and been brought into contact with each other in novel ways — reorganise in a different form. This recombination of the elements of the system is essentially non-liniar, and the new level of organisation is able to handle the energy flow that was too much for the preceding system; it is able to dissipate the entropy to the environment and maintain its new higher level of internal organisation. Out of chaos emerges a transformed system; the dissipative structure has 'escaped into a higher order'. This higher order, once established, is stable and resistant to further structural change or fluctuation, unless and until the energy flowing through it alters sharply and causes the system to undergo an intense new fluctuation. At this point the structure might fall into a new phase of chaos and then once again escape to a higher order. Since each new level of order is more complex than the one before, each is more fragile than its predecessor, each more open to fluctuation, each more susceptible to chaos, change, deterioration.

Prigogine's vision of a universe of dissipative structures replaces the mechanistic view of a cosmos of 'things' with a cosmos of 'process'. The entire process, with structures transforming themselves into new structures of greater complexity and diversification, is unpredictable, self-organising and evolutionary.

© Richard Dyer, 2007