How Embracing Complexity Could Foster Enduring Peace

We’ve created an increasingly complex, in many ways wonderous, world–now what do we do to stop us from destroying ourselves?​

Grant H Brenner

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Google DeepMind

“In this new world, global cooperation is on the defense, and the architecture we built to sustain globalization is eroding. But a new era of globalization is nevertheless knocking on the worlds door, with digital trade, online IP rights, cyber attacks, and the problems posed by climate change becoming ever more relevant.

Humanity is not short of big ideas, nor does it lack powerful tools. What it does lack is an architecture for these to scale up for the greater good. We have no blueprint for such an architecture, but the technology that challenges the old is likely to be at its core. Cities and states won’t disappear, but digital tools will assume many of their mandates... New powers, problems, and technological possibilities are pushing hard against structures that were built for other purposes and other times. We need a new architecture—but where to start?”

— Sebastian Buckup, in Shapiro, Finding A Place To Stand — Developing Self-Reflective Institutions, Leaders and Citizens

We are at an evolutionary crossroads at which our own ingenuity and productivity hold both the greatest promise and unspeakable peril. The situation demands that we train up on complexity because being complexity-intolerant means we can’t even start to understand the world we’ve created for ourselves[1]. We have perhaps become “addicted” to oversimplification, leading to misunderstanding and discord.

The premise is we are at a tipping point. On one hand, the lot of humanity has been improving over centuries as laws and humanitarian consensus meet the technological development to provide resources for all.

However, as humanity has developed, the same factors that have made us stronger have escalated the risk: Technological advancements, population growth, rich cultural exchange, conflict psychology, and related factors mean that one misstep could lead to massive, potentially unrecoverable destruction to our species — possibly even the planet upon which we depend. Our own psychology and emotional maturity has not developed in…

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Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Disaster Responder, Advocate, Photographer