Unraveling complexities

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A snowflake is created when a small piece of dust or pollen touches an extremely cold droplet of water and it almost instantaneously forms into an ice crystal. As the crystal falls to the ground, the snowflake’s characteristic hexagonal shape forms as water vapor come in contact with the crystal and freezes. No two snowflakes are the same because their formation relies on a complex system of interactions with constantly changing atmospheric conditions.

Converting a piece of dust into a snowflake seems like magic.

As we deconstruct the complexities of systems they reveal themselves not as the entities we see but rather collections of interconnecting parts. Viewed too closely we cannot understand how changing one simple element within a complex chain matters, but pull the camera lens back and it begins to make sense. A simple blockage of blood flow in just one of a million veins might seem innocent enough until we suffer a stroke.

“How can changing a single power cable make a difference when there are miles of wire connecting my home?” Might be easier understood when we stop looking so closely at the process. A single power cable is only a small part in a complex circular loop. Change one part of the chain and the loop performance changes.

It has to.

Our understanding of complex systems and their interactions is always aided when we take a step back and look at the whole, rather than question the component parts.