The belief that the secret of the creativity of nature hides in the laws of unpredictability, chaos and time and not in the mechanistic laws of classical dynamics lies beneath Prigogine’s claims. He mentions as an example of the creativity of the chaos and of the non reversibility, their role in the emergence of life. The dissipative structures arise as a result of processes in systems which are characterized as releasing systems, i.e. systems that show energy losses. In such systems, when they are away of the equilibrium state, interactions (long-range cοrrelatiοns), which have a long range and play a crucial role in creating new structures, take place. The appearance of life in our planet became possible through such natural processes.
An example of self – organising is the appearance of currents and eddies in fluids where we can see billions of particles “cooperate.” The matter is blind near the equilibrium state. However, far from the equilibrium state we have correlations of great range that are basic for the creation of new structures. Self organizing takes place because when we are far from the equilibrium state, the system has got lots of choices, of which, anthropomorphically talking, it selects one. Self – organizing is closely connected to the phenomenon of life. The creation of complexity, which is necessary for the creation of life, is connected to the process of storing information in molecules of which the living cell is constituted. All living systems, either unicellular or multicellular organisms, are extremely complex systems compared to all the other species of the non living matter that exist in the Universe. Complexity is the result of effect processes, leading to systems with great organization, containing large information stocks. This organization of the molecules of a living organism, a result of accumulation of information, is what makes them able to produce useful work.
The useful work involves both the fulfillment of basic biological processes, such as metabolism and reproduction, and the further increase in the information content that builds up in living systems. This last process is subject to the great chain of evolution of biological systems, this development is governed by the law of natural selection. The capability of reproduction, mutation and metabolism are necessary conditions for the latter. A system which has got these properties automatically is able to take part in the “game” of natural selection and evolution. The natural selection leads in forms of organizing, which are more effective, leaving the less effective ones at the process of disappearing. This way, a form of organizing which is stabilized dynamically in a system out of the equilibrium state, will disappear, if a an improved form of organizing appears. In this sense, progress means constant amelioration of the operational efficiency of the biological systems. A yet unsolved problem, associated to biological order is the way in which the transition from the molecular activity to the supermolecular order of the cell takes place. The biological order was usually considered as a natural condition which was created by enzymes playing a similar to the demon of Maxwell role, maintaining chemical differences in the system. However, today, it becomes understood that this role is ensured by the genetic information contained in the nucleic acids and is expressed by the creation of enzymes which ensure the perpetuation of life. The enzymes thus contribute to the prolongation of life and postpone death. Namely, life is not located out of the natural order, but appears as the ultimate form and expression of the self organizing processes.
By focusing on the role of chance and chaos at the creation of structure, Prigogine pictures a universe in which the objects are not defined as well as they are defined in classical or quantum physics. In Prigogine’s universe the future cannot be defined because it is subject to chance, fluctuation, and support. This is characterized by Prigogine as the new “uncertainty principle”. According to the famous uncertainty principle, which was expressed by Heisenberg, it is impossible to know in absolute accuracy the position and the momentum of any subatomic particle. Prigogine’s new uncertainty principle teaches us that beyond a boundary point of complexity, the systems are directed to unpredictable directions. The systems lose their initial conditions and cannot obtain them again or reverse their course. Their inability to look back in time is an “entropy barrier”. The discovery of the entropy barrier is similar to Einstein’s discovery that the human beings and the messages cannot travel faster than light, namely, beyond the “light barrier”. Prigogine’s uncertainty principle, just like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, is a damage against reductionism (raising all phenomena to simpler ones). But for Prigogine, this way of viewing nature does not reduce its capabilities, but it recognizes its creative possibilities.
Even when we see a system moving to chaos, points – situations, in which order emerges, appear in that system. Similarly, inside chaos there are traces of a peculiar order. It is also possible that where the system has the shape of a stable system areas called “windows” or “islets” appear. These areas oscillate around a certain number of values. These islets of order, which are interposed into the areas of chaos, are called intennittencies. The importance of these “islets of order” is great because it indicates that there is a close relationship between order and chaos. The relationship between order and chaos must be due to a single process which is subject to the dynamics of nonlinear systems. Namely, there has to be a global chaotic attractor. Generally, the correlation between order and chaos is taken for granted and reflects a holistic concept for the operation of Nature.