The problem with this model is that we have developed the tools to take anything apart to a level where its complexity reveals either too many interconnected elements for us to keep track of them, or, as is the case with physics, indeterminacy, where we acknowledge our inability to know. The human mind can usually keep track of the interactions of three or four elements, but beyond that requires the use of computers. In a similar way in math, it is easy to solve first and second order equations, but beyond that we have to solve them by playing with them on a computer. When we add more elements we can’t get answers, just regions where the answers tend to pool, called attractors. However, we keep on trying, because seeing differently is hard to do and there is a lot of money in analysis. We argue here for recognizing our complexity and educating ourselves on the complex adaptive systems theory, and it is not that difficult. Every living organism is complex enough that complete analysis is impossible. Every living organism has some ability to read and respond—to adapt in some way—to their environment. This adaptability is completely beyond our analytical and computational power – we need to see differently. The lady at the right can be seen as a young lady looking away and to her left, or an old lady in profile. In one, the nose is a chin and the eye is an ear depending on which you see. When you see differently a whole new world is open.
Resilience and Adaptation
We are certainly not the only ones to see this problem, but mostly we continue with the same thinking. If anyone has taken the next step to thinking differently we haven’t seen it. The next step is looking beyond analysis to seeing connections on a larger scale–to seeing how we can influence our and others adaptations to make our world healthier. There are now many programs that try to build resilience—healthy adaptations—in individuals, but no one has seen such measures as useful on a large scale. If analysis is a deep hole with no end in sight the next step is going beyond analytical thought processes to see how and why we adapt in the ways that we do. This leads us to looking at the third element in our shift: survival vs. cooperation. Evolution is made up of adaptations that either prove themselves or are weeded out through natural selection. These adaptations are in our genetic makeup, they take a long time to get set into our DNA makeup, but the ones we make consciously in adapting to our social, economic and political environments follow the same rules. Those that work in evolution both help us to survive better and lead to the diversity that is the hallmark of a healthy system; our conscious adaptations are more likely to be healthy if one follows the rules. We need to honor and support the survival traits we have inherited, but in this day and age, what is needed is more diversity.
The Role of Common Sense Medicine
We are a tax exempt, research-oriented foundation dedicated to helping fund studies that look in this holistic way at humans and their institutions. If you share this interest in complex adaptive systems theory, we welcome your support in promoting alternative thinking. If you are a research organization we welcome your partnership. If you are an interested person, we have articles and webpages you may follow. In them you will see how changing our paradigm makes sense, and the steps to take in doing so. As Kuhn so well pointed out, when you change your paradigm a whole new world opens up to you. We wish you well in your exploration. BEFORE GOING ON YOUR WAY PLEASE VIEW THE FOLLOWING RULES.
Rules for Healthy Adaptation:
- Check it out with a group of trusted people. Adaptations aimed at survival are good and necessary, but they tend to what is called ‘gaming the system’ and often use others in the process of insuring one’s own survival. If others are involved our ethic is don’t use people without their understanding and permission. More of what we need today are novel adaptations that increase our diversity.
- Find a safe place to play. Dangerous places push one towards the survival mode and gaming.
- Experiment with your situation. Mental play, what Einstein did, can be fun. Often the most fruitful mental play is found in what is called a “non-ordinary” state of consciousness. If others are involved the best results are usually in joining with them in playing–it’s called brainstorming, partnership, and teamwork.
- Don’t get hooked on the result; yours is not the only right answer.
- The purpose of life is to learn, and mostly learning how to love.
If you have trouble grasping these concepts, attempting to think like a child, with a fresh perspective, may help you arrive at a better understanding of our ideas. Thinking anayltically has affected many facets of our society. Read more about the consequences of analytical thinking in the following areas: