Complexity theory and Fifty Shades of Grey

The book has thrown light to what was largely hidden and unknown at least in mainstream knowledge. Timing is right too. Vampires are now assimilated in human country, at least in the imagination. Countries are beginning to legalize gay marriage which in my grandparents’ and even my parents’ time is sacrilege. These opened up people’s minds and moved them to accept even if tentatively and slowly what were once unacceptable so that when the book appeared, society (there were critics but overwhelmingly) was ready for it. BDSM is suddenly but deliciously thrown (the rendition softened its otherwise impact as purely smutty read) into public knowledge. The lifestyle is real. There is even a school where interested students can learn, La Domaine Esemar. And we thought we’ve seen and heard it all. I imagine sociologists shaking their heads – I am – over how a trilogy – which is not even Pulitzer material – is poised to change (or right now changing) social institutions in a significant way.

This sudden, unexpected, and small catalyst fits right in with complexity theory (which by the way is the underlying theory in climate change). It is fascinating at the same time baffling how this trilogy (and its precedent, Twilight) is changing institutions where formal planning and action have difficulty doing. Now, all the world needs is to come up with the same breakthrough strategy for nations who seem reticent to stop practices causing climate change; for this country to break out from political and social imprisonment. But then, complexity theorists say unpredictability is the name of the game: we cannot predict what exactly will significantly change the system. It could be anything. Such as this book.


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