October 14, 2013
Where’s Warren Weaver when you need him?
He’s been dead for 35 years, but his perspectives are spot-on for today. Weaver’s degrees – bachelors, masters and PhD, all from the University of Wisconsin/Madison – pointed him toward science as a life-pursuit. His signature work may be his 1948 paper on the difference between Disorganized Complexity (DC) and Organized Complexity (OC).
To simplify his perspective (for my understanding!), he posits Disorganized Complexity as a system with zillions of disconnected parts, operating in random fashion, and their interaction is chaotic and predictable – not based on intentional engineering, but through probability and chance computations. By contrast, he saw Organized Complexity as a system wherein the interactions between the myriad parts are anything but accidental: these functions allow the overall entity to interact with other entities in a wholly intentional basis, based on the intelligent design of the systems’ creator(s).
Low-level creators produce systems that promise much, but deliver dysfunction: the high-minded propositions found in their Rube Goldberg-styled monstrosities flounder and fail when you flip the switch… and the glossy brochure and benefit bullet-points burn up in the collapse that follows.
The highest-level creation presents a face of simplicity, with an image of OC behind the curtain that causes the informed observer to marvel at the genius behind the synchrony. Simply turn the key and put it in drive… and you’re on the highway with a smooth acceleration that won’t put ripples on the surface of your latte.
When Organized Complexity collides with Disorganized Complexity, sparks fly.
Example: The Organized Complexity of the Constitution of the United States of America, and the Disorganized Complexity demonstrated in the current interactions of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government.
Example: The Organized Complexity of the human body, and the Disorganized Complexity of the Affordable Care Act.
Example: The Organized Complexity of the Gospel, and the Disorganized Complexity of Religion, in all of its worldwide cultural variations.
We’ve reached a place in human progress (?) where we are capable of conceiving and creating amazing – complex – breakthroughs: things that break when we’re through creating.
We’ve unlocked the atom… and, now, we can’t control the exploitation of nuclear technology in the hands of evil extremists.
We’ve created the best government model in the history of human community, and we cannot seem to harness it at home or export it abroad.
We’ve sophisticated medical care to the highest level of prevention and intervention ever imagined, and we’ve disheartened doctors from the calling that drew them into practice.
We’ve designed an international financial community that presents instant commercial global interactivity, and we’ve taken down world markets through bogus transactions by a few sophisticated manipulators who leave rich while wreaking havoc on the masses.
We’ve sophisticated science to the point we can explain creation, and we’ve dismissed the validity of the Creator who should be applauded for His amazing works.
The thoughts of a wise man who saw the collision between OC and DC: “I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted… Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13-15; 12:12-14)