Non-linear complexity

click on images for full-size:

Non-linear, non-foundational columns on the front of the Chiat-Day office designed by Frank Gehry

Non-linearity is a key to complexity. Non-linear references and echoes from one part of a story to another make a novel complex. Complex music contains more elaborated and unexpected internal self-reference than easy listening standard sequences. A place can become complex when there are references and comments from one part to another in its spatial construction, or in its normative trajectories of action.

Complex places restrict what should follow upon what; this increases the intensity of the place in a different way than would a linear sequence where each of the simpler self-contained intensities does not impose much on the next step. But complex places also are different from lock-step sequences. Non-linearity, in both space and form of life, involves references and connections that may impose multiple and mutually qualifying norms on the trajectories of action within a place. The next thing you do there might be affected by the intersection of several norms, and so require judgment and balance. Not any arbitrarily chosen stage of action can follow any other, and interpretation or arbitration might be needed.