A Simple Person Embracing Complexity

So I have been reorienting myself around the idea of complexity. By nature, I consider myself a simple soul – simple design, food, routines, lifestyle. Simple can be subtle and sophisticated, but generally not complex.

Conversely, I like change, and change tends not to be simple or linear. I had seen my ability as being able to simplify the complexity and disturbance of change. To subvert and avoid.

I had it wrong.

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity”

So said Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Complexity is there to be embraced.

I have just completed a MOOC on complexity at the Sante Fe Institute, and therein I discovered complex systems as “large networks of simple interacting elements which, following simple rules, produce emergent, collective, complex behavior.”


Complexity is the power of the crowd, the interconnectivity within ecosystems, the shared values / pheromones / nodal pathways of fellow travellers.

Complexity is alive, morphing in front of our eyes, at our every touch. Whereas linear systems are the sum of the parts; interactions within complex systems impact on each other, build upon each other, reproduce in accordance with the rules – often simple – within.

I will share some thought on complexity in different environments over the coming days, not as an expert, but as a seeker, a student, a MOOCer. Join me.

←This Much We Know.→

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