EPisode #8 emergence from complex systems
Complexity is all around us – in fact if we’re looking for a distinction between complicatED things as opposed to comPLEX things, then it’s that people make things complicated (but linear, and readily described) while the whole of the rest of the web of life makes things that are complex… from a cell to an organ to a human (or animal, or plant) body, to an ecosystem, to our climate, to the entire planetary biosphere… (which is why modern medicine doesn’t get so far when it tries to treat us all as if we were basically clockwork and all they have to do is fix the flywheel…)
Anyway – if we’re going to understand how we tick, if we’re going to understand why the non-linear tipping points of complex systems trend towards infinity quite so fast (think methane hydrates boiling off in the arctic causing runaway global heating) – and particularly if we’re going to get to grips with why and how we might reach a stage where conscious evolution is the next emergent property of the hyper-complex system of human society… We need to understand the basics of complexity.
And when we’ve got our heads around this, it’s useful to have a look at the Levers of Change by which any complex system may be nudged – because the non-linear nature of complex systems means that the ways we might, say, change the trajectory of a jetliner are not the same ways we might influence a complex system. So we look at that, too, with honour given to Donella Meadows for coming up with the twelve point list.
If you want to look more at the work of Donella Meadows, it’s here.
If you want to look at the twelve points specifically, try here.
or an easier read here.
and if you want to look at emergence in more detail, this is useful.
[The music that book-ends the podcasts is created by Caro C and is called ‘Sense Ability’ – you can find it here.]
You may also like these recent podcasts
In a world where it takes as much power to post one image on Instagram as it does to make one 330ml plastic bottle… how are we going to turn the massed ships of big business from ‘profit at all costs’ to something actually sustainable? With Dr John Collins of Machine Intelligence Garage and Digital Catapult.
We know now that 1.5 is not alive. We are heading for at least 2 degrees of global heating and this is going to change everything that we do. Rupert Read is part of the Moderate Flank, a movement of people who care deeply and want to be part of crafting a flourishing, equitable future, but who need help in working out what to do.
We all know we need to reduce our consumption, but as the holiday season stretches before us, what better gift to give to yourself or those you love, than ideas? Here are our favourite podcasts, fiction and non-fiction books of 2022.
In a world that feels as if all the certainties are breaking down, how can we build the communities of place and of purpose that will give us the resilience to bridge from the old structures to the new? Exploring deeply practical ways to build community with Charlie Fisher.
We know our climate is in crisis and that time is running out. But we also know that screaming at people to wake up is not working. What if we gave ourselves permission to tell the truth – and the skills to do it with humour and compassion so that we didn’t trigger the resistances of fear? This Episode, we explore stand-up and improv in sustainable communications with Belina Raffy.
STAY IN TOUCH
For a regular supply of ideas about humanity's next evolutionary step, insights into the thinking behind some of the podcasts, early updates on the guests we'll be having on the show - AND a free Water visualisation that will guide you through a deep immersion in water connection...sign up here.
(NB: This is a free newsletter - it's not joining up to the Membership! That's a nice, subtle pink button on the 'Join Us' page...)