I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated.

– Poul Anderson.

From Donella, Meadows. (2013-01-18). Thinking in Systems: A Primer (Kindle Location 322). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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  1. Good question, Jim. In her book she asserts that a system has three elements; components, interrelationships, and a purpose. That's also the order in which we most naturally try to understand a system. At the component level we have a habit of trying to continuously decompose; breaking components into subcomponents ad infinitum. I have a feeling that this habit contributes to the problem. Basically, not trying to understand the system in the right way.

  2. Of course, the opposite is also often true, that there's a perspective that makes things seem simpler. So what does it say about human nature that we tend so often towards the complex? 🙂


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