Blog Post 1 (response to complex systems)

Most of the systems that surround us in this world are complex systems–meaning that there is an interplay of many variables. These systems are not always the same, but they do have certain factors that we can rely on. This allows us to understand the system, find patterns and maybe predict its future. Systems have the ability to evolve, and often times the most successful systems are the kind that people are unable to control. As Meadows discusses in “Thinking in Systems”, the encouragement of varability and experimentation means losing control. Society aims to wipe out diversity, which is what ultimately causes internal systematic collapse. The higher a leverage point, the more a system will avoid changing it. The only way in which to continue growing is to “strategically, profoundly and madly let go”.

Letting go in this way reflects our natural world. The world’s ecosystems grow in closed loops, taking what needs to be taken and giving back everything. They are engaged with the world around them and grow in the “cradle to cradle” cycles of nature–in contrast with human Industry which grows cancerously; growing for its own sake and as an isolated entity.

The progression of our Globe’s environment is a result of the inefficient systems that we have created as humans. We build cities bigger and better for their own sake, the things we make become obsolete wastelands before our eyes. McDonough points out that we should put aside thoughts of ‘efficiency’, which is a model of product and waste, and instead focus on making things effective. By designing to integrate into the natural environment, we create intimate symbiotic relationships. According to Yang, this mitigates problems and consequences of human activity by closing the loops that we have left open.

If we build our cities after the natural models around us instead of letting the excitement of technology blind us, we are more likely to create places for ourselves that are living, breathing extensions of nature. They are more likely to survive, evolve, and be sustainable in the longterm.


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