not atypical; the narrative and dramatic arts are full of thisnsort of thing, and Erving Goffman and Thomas Scheff,namong others, have provided close analysis of it. Nownimagine it extended to the billions of dyadic relationships innthe human world, and the trillions of larger group relationships.nNor are such strategies unique to intimate relationships.nOne could easily demonstrate the same sort ofnstrategy at work between, say, two opposing generals in thenwars of the Austrian Succession. All human interactionsnsignificantly involve such halls of mirrors.nOur first observation, that it was an error to apply tonhuman affairs the deterministic logic of classical science,nwould if left on its own imply that we might as well give upnon such studies altogether. But there is now a body ofntheory and concept that can put them on a new footing. Innthe remarks that follow, I shall pay special attention tonhistorical and social studies, but I do so to let part stand fornwhole; much of what I have to say applies broadly to thenhumanities, the academic study of the arts, and the humannsciences as well.nFor want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. Imagine thenpredicament of a historian, reminded, by some trivialnhistorical episode with momentous effects, of the insecuritynof the discipline of history. The tiniest event can snowballninto the most gigantic consequences, just as the minutestnsubatomic difference in a flow can result in an utterlynaltered pattern of turbulence. Philosophers of history havennever been able to demonstrate that this snowball effectncannot take place. Perhaps every event that occurs is just asncrucial, and just as insignificant, because undifferentiatednin importance from everything else. Perhaps this is thenspecter, the existential cackle of empty laughter, that hauntsncertain historians, that drives them to construct theirnelaborate deterministic edifices of economic and socialnhistory, class struggle, invisible oppressors, conspiracy theories.nLike Casaubon in Middlemarch, they set out tonuncover the Key to All the Mythologies.nAnother kind of historian with a different temperament,nconfronted with the appalling indifference of historicalnsignificance, will seek to enumerate all the primary sources,nto recite all the “facts,” to deal with all exceptions to allnrules, all special eases, all the statistics, and to do it withoutnbias, without giving any one fact more significance than anynother. It is as if one should seek an understanding of anturbulent flow by listing and mapping all the positions of allnthe particles in the flow at all times. Perhaps if the map is onna fine enough scale, the answer will emerge. The mapmakersnof Borges’ mad dictator who made a map of the countrynso perfect that when opened it covered the country itself andnbrought on its economic ruin, or the mole in Kafka’s storynwho kept building new tunnels to keep watch on thenentrances of his burrow, are literary examples of thisnmindset. Such heroic historians, fixated on the old intellectualnmodes, accumulate a tragically meaningless scholarship.nGiven this approach, why should not a life ofnscholarship which devoted itself to a descriptive catalog ofnevery spot on the library wall—and there are enough spotsnon any library wall, if we choose small enough parametersn—why should not such a labor be just as valid as Darwin’sncollection of evidence for evolution, or Albert Lord’s fornoral composition? Why is one fact more significant thannanother?nNot unlike the collecting moles in their theory, butndifferent from them in practice, are those postmodernistsnand deconstructionists who accept the complexity andninterdependence of the world but refuse to recognize thenreal stable order that it also generates. Unable to escapentheir own Oedipal and patriarchal model of knowledge,nwhich insists that the identity of something derives fromnwhat originated it, they regard order as an illusion becausenthat order originated out of chaos. Self-made men andnwomen, they are as horrified by the idea of the self-made—nby the made—as by the primal scene itself. For them tonmake, to create, is a fascist imposition of a totalizingnstructure upon the freeplay of the world. They thus abolishnthe idea of the writer, the maker, the text, the made thing,neven the reader, even the world. They seize on quantumntheory as a sort of warrant for a deconstructed and valuelessnuniverse—quite erroneously, of course, as indeterminatenparticles happily clump together to make very determinatenpieces of matter. Those determinate pieces of matter indeednevolved sometimes into self-ordering and even free systems;nbut this does not help the deconstructionists’ case.nIf the responses of the historical determinists, the obsessivencollectors, and the rebels without a cause are inadequatento the problem of history, what approach might reallynwork? The beginnings of an answer to this question are whatnthis essay proposes; to get there we must follow a somewhatnwinding path of dialectical reasoning.nAny analysis of historical events that we make, or anyntheory of social behavior we formulate, is itself one of thendetermining factors in the situation it describes. Thus therenis no “meta” position, no detached Olympian viewpointnfrom which objective assessments can be made, and thereforenno escape from the apparent chaos of mutual feedback.nWe are all revolutionaries and reactionaries, whatever ournclaims as historians or social scientists. Economists are justnanother group of competitors over what constitutes value.nNot that this struggle for ontological control is a blindnone. We would be totally ineffective at it if we were not ablento assess the motives and assume the world view of others.nAnd even this would not be enough. Our imaginativenmodel of the other must contain its own image of oneself—nthe gift, said Robert Burns, is to see ourselves as others seenus; and that image itself must contain its own assessment ofnthe other. And our outer negotiations take place not justnbetween our own persons but also among the entirendramatis personae of the inner drama by which we estimatenthe future. The confusion is not one of blindness but of toonmuch sight; not of randomness but of an excess of determinants;nnot of chaos but of an order too complex to benexplained before the next complicating event comesnalong—of which the next, complicating, event is the bestnexplanation.nIndeed, this capacity to impose our interpretations onnthings is not only our predicament but also what enabled usnto second-guess, predict, and control the simpler systems ofnnature, such as the biological, chemical, and physical ones.nWe bought our power over the rest of nature with thenessential uncontrollability of human events. We can controlnnature to the extent that we stay one step of reflexivitynahead of it. Nor is even nature innocent, but itself thennnDECEMBER 19871 33n