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"Chaos" and related quotations



Credits: Most of these quotations are from compilations by other researchers (Ditto et al. from ACL, Spano et al. from NSWC, to name a few). Others have been gleaned from my readings.

I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
And keep him there; and let him thence escape
If he be lucky; let him twist and ape
Flood, fire, and demon - his adroit designs
Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
Of this sweet Order, where, in pious rape,
I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
Till he with Order mingles and combines.
Past are the hours, the years, of our duress,
His arrogance, our awful servitude:
I have him. He is nothing more nor less
Than something simple not yet understood;
I shall not even force him to confess;
Or answer. I will only make him good.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay -

Chaos - A rough, unordered mass of things.
- Ovid Metamorphoses -

A violent order is disorder; and
A great disorder is an order. These
Two things are one.
- Wallace Stevens, Connoisseur of Chaos (1942) -

At which the universal host up sent
A shout that tore hell's concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost -

Without dimension, where length, breadth, and height
And time and place are lost; where eldest Night
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold eternal anarchy.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost -

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
- Carl Jung -

Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised
But, as the world, harmoniously confused.
- Alexander Pope, Windsor Forest -

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
- Henry B. Adams, The Education of Henry Adams -

Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought.
Chaos always defeats order because it is better organized.
- Terry Pratchet (attributed by Tom Nagel) -
Wo das Chaos auf die Ordnung trifft, gewinnt meist das Chaos, weil es besser organisiert ist.
- Friedrich Nietzsche -

Complexity is self-generating.
- motto of the Santa Fe Institute -

Chance, too, which seems to rush along with slack reins,
is bridled and governed by law.
- Boethius (ca. 480-525) The Consolation of Philosophy -

Fortune's wheel never stands still - the highest point is therefore the most perilous.
- Maria Edgeworth, Patronage -


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Updated: 2001-12-27 ceaf