Complex Systems

Complex systems have emergent properties – that is, the system has properties that are NOT part of the sub-components. (from email from

  • How do some animals arrange themselves into intricate, complex organizations without anyone directing the process?
  • How can musical notes, none of which played individually provokes a very distinct reaction, inspire us to dance or cry when played in a series?
  • How is it that a group of participants, having cooperated on a project, can wind up surprised to discover in the resulting product of their work qualities that none of them ever imagined or can even explain?
  • How does a human brain, comprised of neurons that lack consciousness, relate to a human mind that is conscious?

The upshot: We need to restrain our urge to exert undue control, which stifles and counter-intuitively sabotages vulnerable developing processes.

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