Getting serious about complexity

Our problems are complex. They are tangled. They are tightly connected, so that if we think to solve this one straight on, we may find we have caused a new one over there unknowing.

We cannot dissolve the knots. Life is as life is. All is interconnected. What we have not yet tried in any concerted fashion is bringing complexity itself to bear on complexity.

What is one the most complex of systems? Humanity itself. The human being standing in isolation is a complicated tangle, bunch of blood vessels and nerves and lymphatic systems, muscles and bone and brain and thought and action and skin and digestion and a host of microscopic parasites living in on and under each square inch of us. Yet that one human is only part of the interconnected web of humanity, interconnected by family lines and friendships, by association and work, by politics and religions, by commerce and bumping into one another, by speech and touch and glance and odor, by nearness and distance, by working together and pulling apart.

If we got serious about bringing this human complexity to bear upon the complexity of life, then we stand a chance of understanding and working with life, of growing and working with what faces and embraces us.

We need to meet what meets us. If we think we can shove our way through the crowd and get our way all the time—we will find the crowd often has other ideas. If we enlist each other, if we enlist ourselves to each other, then life becomes meaningful, good is possible, work gets done.

We have proven shock and awe does not work. We must try something else. We must work.

Working with others—co-labor—collaboration—is not easy. We want things easy and clear and simple. There ought to be a life’s instruction manual, a one page sheet saying how it all works. There is none. That is how it works.

With every baby born, with every increase in our population, the strands are woven ever more complexly. Soon we will meet each other at every turn. If we are to grow, become more and larger, we need to embrace—and dance!

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on October 24th, 2007 | No Comments »

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