A note from our editor in chief, Stephen Kiesling.
Many readers will remember the 1987 launch of James Gleick’s great book Chaos: Making of a New Science, and the idea that the flap of a butterfly’s wing can be the catalyst for a hurricane. At a lecture Gleick gave at the launch, what struck me was a video he showed on the mathematics of chaos theory. The video started with simple lines on the screen—the graph of an equation—that got more and more complex until what once looked like math now looked and moved like a living cell, as if chaos were an organizing principle of life.
Since then, we’ve learned how much chaos is actually inside us: those trillions of bugs that go about their own business and keep us alive. A human turns out to be a bus full of odd critters, and now we’re learning that cancer, too, is always on board. We “tend toward cancer, not away from it,” explains oncologist Dawn Lemanne MD. So the odd flap of a butterfly in the backseat of the bus can let loose a hurricane inside us.
What Maria Shriver calls “The Power of the Pause” (24) is to take a stand against chaos, moment to moment. Her extraordinary life has allowed he …