For the Love of Chaos: What Does Complexity Theory Have to Do with Intimacy and Healing?

Dr. Keith WittIntegral Live, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Perspectives, Presentations, Psychology, Video, Witt & Wisdom: Live with Dr. Keith 2 Comments

Chaos is a ladder.Littlefinger, Game of Thrones

In a world as complex and chaotic as ours, how can we raise our level of awareness and attunement in order to meet the great challenges of our time? Watch as Dr. Keith explains how chaos can be used as an incredibly effective driver of growth, healing, and love.

Join Dr. Keith as he explores the following topics:

  • What are complex systems and how do they apply to vertical and horizontal health?
  • What can complexity theory (also called chaos therapy and the theory of dissipative systems) tell us about personal and relational evolution?
  • What are the postures of heart and mind that can help us break through to higher levels of complexity when chaos increases, rather than breaking down to former levels of stability?

“Complexity theory says that a complex system is a group of linked and differentiated parts — energized from the outside, organized hierarchically, capable of chaotic behavior, but not lost in either rigidity or chaos. Complex systems recapitulate patterns at fractal boundaries, and tend to self-organize toward greater levels of complexity, which are more energy-efficient and often simpler-looking than previous levels.

Human brains, relationships, and communities are all complex systems. In human evolution, greater complexity is generally correlated with more compassion and deeper consciousness. Intrapsychically and interpersonally, we avoid increased complexity by resisting caring connections within ourselves and with each other. We keep differentiated parts separate with dissociation, objectification, and defensive states.

We enhance development of more complexity when we link differentiated parts of ourselves and others with awareness, acceptance, and caring intent — in other words, attunement. Attunement plus Integral understanding is Integral mindfulness, dialed-in.”

– Dr. Keith Witt

Dr. Keith Witt

About Keith Witt

Dr. Keith Witt is a Licensed Psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, CA. for over forty years. Dr. Witt is also the founder of The School of Love.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is editor and producer of Integral Life. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.


  1. Bryce Widom

    Loved so much of this.
    Including a highly visceral transmission of mirror-neuron-ing…along with the blossoming sense of responsibility for what I myself may be transmitting (and receiving) in any (and every) given moment. Not to concretize into an overly-serious and rigid disposition….but rather, another moment of wake-up for me, in the realization that every moment is precious, and can be brightened beyond current patterns of comfort/safety/normal, via an alert acceptance and kindness…

  2. Avatar

    Hi Keith and Corey, found this really interesting and constructive. Did feel a bit bemused when Keith mentioned the New Zealand study, until I realise he meant the Dunedin study – only here we pronounce that Done-ee-din…

    Much aroha, Imago.

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