Complexity, Chaos, Creativity and Open Systems

The natural world around us is creative, complex, chaotic, dynamic and fundamentally self-organising. Any response to the world which hopes to successfully manage human beings and our many little worlds into anything resembling a sane organisational structure requires us to whole-heartedly embrace this complexity and chaos. Repetition and rote-learned, blindly regurgitative behaviours lead largely to stagnancy and demise. Systems which are notionally closed, regardless of the logical and ontological impossibility of such systemic “closure”, tend to rot internally from the inevitable self-destruction borne of decay and proliferating entropy. Systems which are intrinsically open and dynamic can creatively harness the physical properties of entropy and much like life itself, successfully surf the wave-front chaotically defined through the inevitability of change and time. An open system thrives on the change, complexity and creativity that chaos and entropy can bring. A closed system, eventually, dies.

Everything in space and time is subject to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Entropy in a closed system tends to increase. Dust accumulates, wrinkles develop, engines rust, mountains erode, galaxies slowly fade; all systems are subject to this dissolution. A truly closed system does not exist in nature in this a creative secret dwells. Entropy is inevitable but death and decay is not.

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Decay can also be regenerative.

A relevant quote from a book I recently read:

The overripe hierarchies of the world, from corporations to nation states, are in trouble and are calling, however reluctantly, on their people for more creativity, commitment, and innovation. But this all comes at the same time that the closed, hierarchical, competitively organized and linearly planned structure of organizations are hell-bent on preventing those creative qualities from ever self-organizing within corporate walls.”

Source: “Seven Life Lessons of Chaos”, John Briggs and F. David Peat, HarperPerennial, 1999, p. 70

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