At the time the movie was made, it was a buzz-phrase, but chaos theory has nothing to with anything in that movie. What perhaps was illustrated, is that in a sufficiently complex system, it’s impossible to anticipate all possible outcomes. I think a corolarry to that, is that you can call yourself lucky if most of the outcomes are neutral, because almost anything but that, is bad.
I mention this, because I read in the Times, about how all sorts of bad shit is happening as a result of the completion of the Three Gorges Dam in China. How could anyone think you can build the world’s largest hydro-electric dam, displace 1.4 million people, and think everything’s going to just “work out”? Now lakes are drying up, stuff is dying, etc. An official is quoted as saying,
“We failed to think of all the impacts that the dam might bring about when designing the dam…”
You think? To quote Mickey Rourke’s character in Body Heat,
“…any time you try a decent crime, you got fifty ways you can fuck up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you’re a genius... and you ain’t no genius.”