You have to Remove the “I” from it all to Understand any Complex System

Complex systems are only a beast to navigate if you view complexity from a single perspective of a curious observer that is embedded in that system. While we may appreciate this notion that a singular viewpoint might be biased or significantly restricted, considering a plural viewpoint is very difficult to achieve in practice as our personal thoughts tend to be the ultimate arbiter of ‘truth’. How can we understand or more importantly believe another viewpoint that is not our own?

If you project your singular blinkered enquiry into any complex system in which you are a participant (aka in which you are embedded), then your conclusions are simply derived from that very narrow experience set (that partial information only) that resides in ‘you’. Because of this tendency to prefer seeing things from your more ‘trusted’ singular vantage, that narrow experience set is also comprised of ‘narrow experience sets derived from other inter-related complex systems in which you are or have been a witting or unwitting participant.

Now as thinking beings we like to connect the dots to make sense of what is about us so that we can survive the uncertain future, but if our software is deficient of context, then we all know where that is going to lead. False leads, dead ends and in the words of Wolfgang Pauli….”not even wrong”. In other words decoherence. Because we are active participants of a greater system we are out of phase with it all and diminish as opposed to contribute to system processes and purpose.

We might see ‘things’ as that abstract notion of an interpretation emanating from a simplistic world view, but miss the important context of the processes at work in the greater system that lead to these ephemeral structures of simple emergence (called things). We replace the greater processes at work with the ‘things’ of apparent enduring certainty or fact and use these ‘things’ as the building blocks for our projected enquiry.  That deficient context and limited world view will therefore create the appearance of certainty where you use these things like lego bricks to build your mental models into a coherent narrative of reason that can be so departed from the underlying reality.

It really is a vicious cycle of ‘limited perspectives’ with the end result forcing you into a very limited ‘reality’ of a far wider total reality that is the greater system in which you as a participant are embedded. Now this is not a philosophical statement…..but rather a very scientific one tried and tested by the greatest physicists of the time who have forayed into both the classical and non-classical realms of systems. The relationship between the observer and observed is where all ‘things’ reside and the emergence of things is simply an ephemeral outcome taken from a particular vantage.

To make sense of how those ‘things’ emerge in the system, you need to imagine a different perspective where the observer theoretically lies outside that system simply passively looking in to make sense of how the whole system operates. Where the observer takes a passive stance and simply observes processes at work as opposed to singular certainties. From this ‘gods eye’ vantage you can clearly see opportunity which is quite the contrary to a vantage of a singular ‘certainty’. In fact you can clearly see that the apparent singular ‘certainty’ was the root of the problem the whole time. Once again this is not philosophy. If you take this hypothetical vantage as an external observer such as your observations made of systems confined in controlled laboratory conditions you suddenly see that the supposed ‘things’ of fundamental enduring nature were simply an emergent outcome of deeper processes at work. Not ‘things’ at all.

The viciousness of this illusory game of ‘complex systems within complex systems’ lies in the twist that occurs in a system packed with plural perspectives where the singular reality of apparent certainty about how a system operates is left to the mercy of the plurality of different viewpoints of ‘certainty’. Which certainty is more right? This really is what risk is all about. Risk represents the sum total of all possible certainties. To take advantage of risk you need to step outside the system you are embedded in itself and revel in the majesty of it all. From this vantage you then start seeing opportunity. Not from the predictive certainty of a possible path, but the end result of all possible paths. In other words a trend follower is simply an observer in the processes at work in a complex system.

So that’s why *without levitating and chanting* we can see who the observers really are. They are not the seekers of predictive certainty. They are the observers who revel in understanding the processes at work of the greater system/s. You might get frustrated that advocates of trend following talk sport, organic gardening, fly fishing, surfing, science, philosophy, entrepreneurialism, you name it….and yell out in despair….”what the $%#@$ has that got to do with it all? Show me the calculations and the systems”

Do you get it?…….Do you see the secret sauce?…….. We can live our lives and have it all by embracing our position as a mere participant in a web of interacting and nested complex systems by simply observing it all and absorbing all viewpoints. From this vantage we can take measures to protect the obvious downside in our lives but leave us very open to opportunity…..and what’s more we will enjoy our lives more and most likely live longer than you all as we can see this risk and opportunity everywhere.

This is a good segue into one of my favorite trend followers…..Sepp Holzer.

Farming With Nature – Permaculture with Sepp Holzer

Vote 1: Trend Following

Trade well and prosper

Rich B

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