Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience – to appreciate the fact that life is complex.
― M. Scott Peck


This word and its synonyms are among our leading go-to avoidance mechanisms.

Are you still dating so-and-so?

Well, it’s complicated.

How are things back home?

Difficult to explain.

Progress on your startup?

If you only knew…

Think about it for a while, and observe yourself, and others around you — how often do you notice complexity or some substitute description of it are used as a way to avoid talking about, thinking about, and thus doing anything concrete about a problem?

Es complicado.

Both the words complex and complicated come to us originally from root words meaning to weave together.

Tangled. Knotted. Messy. Frustrating.

Where do I even start?

That’s it — it’s the overwhelm. It’s the feeling of there’s no possible way I’ll ever get through it all. It’s always going to be with me, this tangled mess — and I don’t want to think about it, because it’ll just make me depressed.

That’s certainly how I feel when I think about the problems out in the world.

I don’t want to talk about them. We hear enough about them.

But we have to face up to the complex itself.

We usually hear this word used as an adjective, but I like its noun usage as well.

The complex we must face up to is that each of us is unavoidably and inextricably interwoven into the fabric of everyone else, and everything else. I cannot untangle myself from the problems of this world for the very reason that I live in this world.

Looking away just isn’t an option if I want to both improve the experience of life for myself, and ‘leave behind me footprints on the sands of time’.

I must reckon with the complex, and its complexity.

Unchangeable conditions of the complex — foremost, everything is in motion.

This alone must be more deeply appreciated and integrated into our practical understanding of reality. Given that everything is always constantly in motion, we must see that we will never be able to calculate the trajectory of all other objects in concrete space sufficient to be able to predict where we will be in the future, what and who will be around us.

Unchangeable conditions of the complex — second, reflexivity bites.

Any change within the system provokes reactions from all other elements within the system. We think we can make a little change here to get more of what we wanted, but we fail to see the consequences over there — unintended but real.

And then it turns out we didn’t even get more of what we wanted.

Life is a complex.

Unchangeable conditions of the complex — third, you don’t get to choose what comes your way.

You make choices you think will lead you in a certain direction, yet you often end up moving in another.

You venture out, experiment, try. It blows up in your face in unexpected ways. All of those failures you prepared for — but you’re hit by one you didn’t predict.

Black Swans are hatching every day as our solar system hurtles through the Milky Way at 828,000 km / hour, tortoisean in comparison to the Milky Way itself, zipping along at more than 2.2 million km / hour, which is about the speed that Laniakea is pulling us with all 100,000+ of its galaxies toward the Shapley Concentration, about 650 million light years from here.

Dizzy yet?

The more you try to map it all out, point to every force and mass acting on you, and upon whom you might consider to act, you will become more and more paralyzed by the overwhelm.

Why do you think our political, religious, and economic systems and institutions are failing?

Because they can’t deal with complexity.

This post is for subscribers only

Sign up now to read the post and get access to the full library of posts for subscribers only.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in