NSL Blog

Living on the edge of chaos

April 8, 2013

How do we learn to deal with a more complex worldPrinciple 1 of No Straight Lines is Ambiguity. Or how does one deal with a more complex world? How does one ride on the edge of chaos? I summarise this in the following way.

In many ways ambiguity is the output of our current trilemma, but for that very reason it must also be a defining principle. When we individually and collectively live in an age of uncertainty, we must all become masters of managing uncertainty. As individuals or organisations we need to demonstrate the ability to face the future openly; we have to replace fear of the unknown with curiosity. We need to become aware of what is around us. To do that requires a step change in learning and self-improvement – this is achieved through continuous contemplation and self-reflection which ultimately enables the mastery of an aware self/organisation, with the motivation to pursue truly motivated goals. There is a need to accept a lack of control, and of uncertainty, not only being prepared to accept being taken outside of one’s comfort zone but deliberately seeking it out – the consequence of which is a more disciplined mind or organisational culture, that is now capable of strong creative and conceptual thinking.

TransitionThis strong creative mind or culture will now possess the strength of working and thinking in a number of disciplines, enabling multiple perspectives to be drawn which will enable deeper insight with it consequent clarity. Consequently it is possible to detect and identify underlying patterns and hidden relationships where previously there was only chaos. Pattern recognition enables us to move from a position of perceiving potential alternatives of organising, creating, designing and building as risky and unrealistic to recognising new common sense opportunities. So when others see disorder, someone who has developed a mastery of ambiguity can explain assumptions and logically lead others through their critical analysis.

Below a short piece that reflects on complexity. The boundary conditions between perfect order and perfect disorder result in fractals and strange attractors. This is like one of the essential notions in complexity theory. In between you have instability, you destabilise the order, but that is where you get really crazy things new patterns emerging, clearly occurs in that zone. But it is a difficult zone because things can collapse, things are prone to collapse.

Hanson: Edge of chaos – boundary between perfect order and disorder from FreedomLab on Vimeo.

Further reading:

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