Let's say we have a very simple

system that can be in any one of ten

discrete states. These states we number from one to nine. There are rules for how this system changes from state to state, but we have to figure them out for ourselves, just from observing the system's state over time. Now, we can see

patterns in the way systems like this behave. Look at this one:

1,2,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,...

9,8,7,6,5,4,3,3,3,3,3,...

We can be fairly sure that this one settles on 3, no matter where it starts. Once it reaches 3, it stops being interesting because it is in a stable state. We know exactly what it is going to do from then on.

This one:

1,3,5,7,9,1,3,5,7,9,1,3,5,7,9,...

Cycles through odd numbers. Again, it is in a stable state. A more complex one -- a cycle -- but it's predictable.

But what if the system gave us this output:

3,1,4,1,5,9,2,6,5,...

Can we say that this is a pattern? Is this system in a "stable state?" You tell me.