Complexities, Complications And Living In A Complex World

Me Delivering My TEDx Talk

Around a year ago, I presented my first ever TEDx talk at TEDx Oldham. Now, due to a number of reasons, the video recording of the event has either been lost or not processed. Either way, there is no recording available. The topic I spoke about was that ‘Living in a Complex World’. Today’s is a short post summarising my talk.

Quite often we hear people use phrases such as it’s complicated, I find it complicated, it’s too complicated for me, how complicated is this, and so forth. Let me start with the questions:

  1. why do we find things complicated?
  2. what to do about it?

To know the answers, read on.

We live in a complex world. There are systems that are a part of us, such as neurological, psychological, physiological, and anatomical. Then there are systems that we are a part of, such as natural, political, social, and economical. All these systems are complex by their very nature. Complexities are an inherent part of the world we live in. However, complications sprout in our minds due a lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding. However, there is a way out. What do we mean by awareness, knowledge and understanding in relation to a given situation?

Awareness: Awareness deals with whether or not we are cognisant of the fact that a certain system exists. It answers the question of what is happening and what is making things happen or what is causing something to happen. For example, if you suddenly find traffic moving slow, awareness will tell you that you are stuck in a traffic jam, and that it is caused by roadworks or a stalled car or something.

Knowledge: Once you are aware of what is happening and what is making things happen, knowledge is the link between the cause and effect. Back to the earlier paragraph about awareness, traffic is slow due to roadworks is the awareness. Roadworks are leading to lanes being narrowed and therefore creating a bottleneck, causing traffic to move slowly or crawl is knowledge.

Understanding: Once your awareness and knowledge have enhanced, the understanding portion is what helps you overcome a given situation. You know you are stuck in traffic, which is caused by lane closures due to road works. Your understanding of the situation now will enable you to discover alternative routes to your destination, which will enable you to breakaway from the traffic queue.

When there is a lack of awareness, knowledge or understanding or a combination of these, about a situation, it results in complications, depending on the intensity and proximity of the situation to oneself. So, to summarise, awareness will tell you what is going on and what is the cause, knowledge will give you the link between cause and effect, and understanding of the situation will help you discover a way out.

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