Escaping to a Higher Order

In assembling complexity the bounty of increasing returns is won by multiple tries over time.
As various parts reorganize to a new whole, the system escapes into a higher order.
Ilya Prigogine

Anyone who knows me well has heard me utter this quote. It is one of my favorites ... maybe because it has so much hope in it. I will say however, that I was beginning to tire of the number of 'trys' it was taking. Then suddenly we,  the American people, voted Barak Obama in as our new president and I have come to understand the word "escapes" in a totally different light!

The first MG Taylor axioms is "The future is rational only in hindsight." Over the years as I thought about the axiom I now realize that I was thinking too rationally. This is true within a given paradigm, but not so when a paradigm shifts to a higher order.

Clearly, President-Elect Obama's win was not rational. It really was an escape!!! So beautiful! Think about it. In 2004, a little known person gave a speech ... not just any speech but one that called out to each of us. Mr. Obama made us us realize how starved we were for wholesome, nourished, natural born hope. He unburied our hope. His speech brought to the forefront of our minds how hungry we were to create a new world, to begin again, to find joy in each other again. Obama's speech was a tremendous attraction to our better selves ... regardless of party affiliation.

I remember reading about basins of attraction. In my layperson, imaginal understanding, basins are like paradigms that have very strong attractors. They tend to hold ideas in a vortex constantly settling them into a still state of similar ideas ... chaos into order. So no matter how we worked to improve the state of the world, the results of our efforts would settle back into the vortex of the existing paradigm and seem to make little difference. Escape seemed impossible regardless of our efforts and hopes and dreams.

And then, after multiple tries Prigogene tells us that the system escapes to a higher order! Suddenly the shift is made ... the difference that makes a difference ... and a new order and fitness comes into being. What is interesting about this escape is the small percentage of difference it actually takes to swing into this new basin of attraction. Supposedly it is somewhere around ten percent! So here we are swinging precariously between paradigms. Can we hold on to the new paradigm.... can we realize the hopes and talents and gifts waiting to unfold in this new basin? Can we establish initial conditions that help formulate a healthier world for all? Can we realize our hopes? I'm betting on it. There is really nothing left of the old. Decay and corruption is all around us. Much of the corruption has come from trying to fix or outsmart the existing system. From my studies I think this is useless effort.

So it is up to us to find our fitness within this new basin of attraction and to keep it moving in the right direction. For years good ideas have been springing forth and attracting us to new possibilities and challenges. There is a wealth of solutions, intentions, and dreams waiting to converge through this escape channel. Mostly, these ideas have been below the radar screen or considered too ideal, not practical. That's a good thing because it has enabled ideas to grow and mature, become strong attractors.

Our challenge is not to worry the old but to engage in the new. Some have spent years being revolutionaries, fighting the existing system and this is a good thing. However, with the state change comes the responsibility and the opportunity to forego our anger and our cynicism and join the attractions. It is time to make our investments not in incremental change that attempts to hold the old systems in place, but in knowing with certitude that we can now precede with creating a better world for ourselves, our communities, and the world.

Todd has written a blog about control from the bottom and the top.  I think President Obama  will help by holding forth a strong bully pulpit and we, as grass root citizens will do our part.  Let's make wise use of this escape possibility.