“We don’t ‘get’ complexity”

“One result of our evolutionary heritage is that contemporary humans tend to respond to problems in relatively simplistic, reductionist, mechanical ways… we don’t ‘get’ complexity… [we are] a coyote suspended above an abyss, believing he still stands on solid ground. We are in the interval before he notices he is in thin air and plummets to the canyon floor”. Professor Bill Rees.


3 thoughts on ““We don’t ‘get’ complexity”

  1. The research group that I work with on postnormal times counts growing complexity, chaos, and contradiction as emblems of the era we are in. Decline and collapse is likely as a consequence of the limits of complexity identified by Joseph Tainter in his work on the collapse of complex societies. Silicon Valley pundits appear to belive that AI will the techno-fix for that, but sentient AI may conclude that we only foul our own nests.


  2. I would place Prof. Rees’ observation differently (on its head?). We have become so lost in complexity that the obvious, simple truths have been obscured. We need, to borrow Daniel Quinn’s formulation, The Great Remembering.


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