Sunday, July 09, 2006

"If you have a teenager, or if you invest in the stock market, you know very well that a complex system cannot be controlled, it can only be managed. Because responses cannot be predicted, the system can only be observed and responded to. The system may resist attempts to change its state. It may show resiliency. Or fragility. Or both.

An important feature of complex systems is that we don’t know how they work. We don’t understand them except in a general way; we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them, we learn we don’t. Sometimes spectacularly."

You can read the complete speech by Michael Crichton @

I'd like to hear your response if you have one that you would enjoy sharing...

After reading the sppeech, I sense an opening within myself to more deeply question my assumptions; to endeavor to uncover the hidden ones; to forgive myself for mistakes I've made in trying to manage the complex systems in my life; and to have compassion for all of us that we share the same boat. I have an even deeper respect for our planetary system and more understanding of my relationship to it. It stimulates within me a yearning to increase my focus on human needs, as well as community and global needs. I feel safer, and paradoxically accept the risk posed just by being human on a chaotic planet.

1 comment:

Dick Frantz said...

Thanks, Jim. I'm grateful for the increased understanding for how it pertains to its subject. There alone, it helps
me better communicate with more reality and helpfulness. Beyond that, its greater understanding of Complex Systems has broad applicability for me.

If I might, I'd like to share my response to a friend about the article and your posting of it,

Best wishes,

Dick Frantz

I consider this is a "must read".

It's greatest momentary value to me is understanding that when a person speaks to me and that provokes a negative reaction in me, a "system" is being invoked, comma, Part #327,438,921,789 thereof, comma, and the summary of my current thoughts, feelings, conclusions and perspective needs to be seen as only that small thing: THERE IS MORE GOING ON THAN MY LITTLE UPSET!!!! So, it becomes important to "resolve" that little issue, set it aside if not fully resolved but far less "interesting", and begin to deal with the sword that "little" personal upset was just the tip of.

And further, to understand, the sword was the tip of a soldier, who was the tip of a company, that was the tip of an army...

Such a perspective and methodology are, or nearly are, part and parcel of the Process within Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Give self Empathy when enturbulated by conversations or events, so one can do something positive, make some life-serving contribution to the overall situation - Life.

Cognizant of being beset with troubles, we're well advised of the transient nature of all states: Life is "In Process", and thus ever-changing... Unless we ourselves grasp hold of something and making is stationary, "stare at it" in pain or disbelief, bringing a halt to our own Flow in Life's Process.

"And this too shall pass" might be more helpfully viewed as a call to look at a larger picture, and to plan and/or take action based in the premise one is dealing with not a mouse but an elephant, and the extent of ones power over elephants is that one can only lean against such a beast in hope of altering its course away from one's garden -- unless one joins with others... who will constrain their actions to only leaning... so that in the slow, progressive change that result from that kind of sane and consciously directed action, we can evaluate the current efficacy of the ongoing PROCESS: How are we doing in service of - the Complex System - ME, The Elephant, and The Garden.

Darn, but if that doesn't look like Theology: The study of The Relationship between God, Man, and The Universe. What a magnificent Concordance with "Me, Elephant, Garden".

The Indicator called Concordance, is a marvelous helper. It tells us we are "in the flow", and not trying to swim upstream. In the system.