source:Complex Potential States. Thinking in terms of complex potential… | by Bonnitta Roy | Perspectives on Complexity | Medium
Complex Potential States
Thinking in terms of complex potential states instead of complex adaptive systems may be helpful in our times
Something about the epistemological foundations of complex adaptive systems has been bothering me. It is very hard to think of complex systems without framing agency in the context of adaptation — in complexity science we see it everywhere. This alone is cause for suspicion, since when certain descriptions of reality are seen everywhere we look, it most likely means that the description is a feature of a limiting paradigm, an epistemological boundary, as it were, rather than a feature of the world. Buzz Holling, for example, became suspicious of his own panarchy framework when people started applying it to everything everywhere. It’s the “when the only thing you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” syndrome. This usually means it is time to design new epistemological tools that can take us beyond that horizon of meaning. Since complex adaptive processes are deeply woven into evolutionary theory, in this case, we are looking for a new theory of change.