Study Guide

Jurassic Park Chaos

By Michael Crichton


A predictable chaos echoes throughout Jurassic Park, and it's not only when Ian Malcolm discusses his chaos theory. In Malcolm's view, complex systems have an underlying order, and simple systems can produce complex behavior. Jurassic Park fails in part because Hammond and his team fail to account for the chaos inherent in their enterprise, which they imagine as a simple system designed to rake in the bucks.

Hammond believes Jurassic Park is simple and therefore controllable, but Malcolm argues that "unpredictability is built into our daily lives" and so the "dream of total control" promised by science must die (5.47.206). That doesn't mean that science can't predict or control anything; it just means that it can't control everything.

In the end, the dream of Jurassic Park dies because seemingly minor disturbances and problems combine into a huge mess. Malcolm predicts this unpredictability, but, predictably, no one listens to him until it's too late.

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