No giant machine

And so it’s understandable, but disheartening, to see how often we’re moved to respond to situations that are simple, complicated, complex and chaotic as if straightforward cause and effect would explain it, or as if it’s possible to know exactly what to do.

Explaining the world by this-caused-that or pretending to be an expert who knows the answer, or saying that there is no answer ignores the complexity and chaos that is the nature of so much of the world.

Doing this makes us feel better. Perhaps it dulls our fear and uncertainty.

But it robs us of so much of the human ingenuity, care and creativity we need.

It keeps us small.

Responding to terrorism, and war, and climate change, and poverty, and social justice… and loving, and being in a relationship, or in a family, and working with colleagues, and leading an organisation… all of these require our ability to respond to complexity and chaos, as well as our expertise. All require our capacity to experiment, create, listen deeply, take risks, and learn as we go. And none of these are easy while we’re committed to reducing the world to a giant machine where someone or something is to blame for all the difficulties that face us.

Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc

2 thoughts on “No giant machine

  1. There are many difficult situations in our world today. You are right, we shouldn’t be overly confident and promise something we can’t solve. It’s also important to avoid having no answer at all. There needs to be a middle ground where we humble ourselves and always attempt to find an answer to the next dilemma. It’s good to have assertiveness in leadership as long as it is backed up by a spirit of humility and open-mindedness.

    • Yes – I agree with what you’re saying. There’s wisdom in both accepting that there are no simple answers, while still knowing we have to act. When we give up the fairy-tale of someone to blame perhaps we’ll find within ourselves new kinds of action, maybe surprising ones and life giving ones.

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