Most readers will know this image, now iconic for all the wrong reasons (and blogged about here earlier this year)

We shouldn’t groan when we see such images, we should be excited. A three minute TED talk by ecologist Eric Berlow explains why, using approaches from his work in natural systems.

The presentation left me reflecting on the famous quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. That’s a great short talk. I was actually just reading John Paul Lederach’s “The Moral Imagination” — he uses the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote in describing the complexity inherent to peacebuilding work. The quote (and this talk) puts such a useful frame on thinking about complexity, because otherwise it gets to be pretty intimidating.

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  2. [...] Confusion between complexity and simplicity Posted on November 15, 2010 by admin| Leave a comment Tweet I bumped into a discussion about complexity and simplicity, starting from the image of a power point made by the U.S. military.http://aidontheedge.info/2010/11/13/the-simplicity-on-the-far-side-of-complexity/ [...]

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  3. [...] bumped into a discussion about complexity and simplicity, starting from the image of a power point made by the U.S. [...]

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About Ben Ramalingam

I am a freelance consultant and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues. I am currently working on a number of consulting and advisory assignments for international agencies. I am also writing a book on complexity sciences and international aid which will be published by Oxford University Press. I hold Senior Research Associate and Visiting Fellow positions at the Institute of Development Studies, the Overseas Development Institute, and the London School of Economics.

Category

Biology, Conflict and peace building, Knowledge and learning, Networks, Public Policy, Strategy