Complexity is an odd beast. As it grows it encompasses more and more stuff, eating it up like a ravenous dinosaur. And it’s all these little tidbits -- things that vary -- that combine to become the real underlying problem. If you don’t understand these ‘variables’ then you can’t truly tame the complexity; bend it towards your goals.
our species has always had a problem in dealing with too many things at
once. We can take only a few select issues into account; we can’t
fathom the whole picture. We do not see the beast for what it has become
and as such we simply focus on a leg, or a tail, or some other part in
seclusion from the whole. We narrow down our vision, while convincing
ourselves that we can see the whole thing. But we can’t.
you seek to change a complex multi-variable system -- particularly one
that is massive, ugly and hugely chaotic -- simply fiddling with a small
piece of it will always generate unpredictable results. That’s OK if
you’re expecting it, but only if you are expecting it. If however,
you’re convinced that you ‘get it’ when clearly you can’t, then that
delusion blinds you to the results. And that blindness most often makes
the problems worse, not better. There are -- not surprisingly -- many
more ways to make bad changes in this world then there are good ways. So
a change without understanding is likely a change for the worse. If it
isn’t obviously bad right away, then it might just be more fuel for the
complexity beast to devour. To grow and get worse.
some rather short-sighted reason, we’ve become collectively convinced
that action, any action, is better than the status quo. But action
without thought, without a real understanding of the the complexities
involves, is action that is most likely to feed the problem, not solve
it. But now we have a great many “leaders” bent on acting. And as a
consequence we have a rapidly growing beast to deal with. One that gets
worse every year. One that gets larger every year. One that includes
more and more variables every year. And one that nobody really
understands anymore, or can manage.
it is not action that we need. It is not change that we need. It is
simply a way to get the beast back under control and to simplify our
circumstances back to a point where we can act again. Where we can make
changes that aren’t stupid, careless and risky.
need to stop taking wild guesses, stop narrowing our gaze and start
accepting that we’re in a mess. A huge mess. A mess that nobody knows
how to fix, that no one wants to fix, and that is going to be painful to
mad rush forward of ideas and action is a mad rush over the cliff. It’s
what we’ve been doing so far, and I honestly suspect it’s what we’ll be
doing right up until the moment we are in flight. Our species after all
is a wee bit smarter than some of the others, but collectively were not