“Complex systems have somehow acquired the ability to bring order and chaos into a special kind of balance. This balance point–often called the edge of chaos–is where the components of a system never quite lock into place, and yet never quite dissolve into turbulence, either. The edge of chaos is where life has enough stability to sustain itself and enough creativity to deserve the name of life,” according to author Mitchell Waldrop in Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. What does this mean for social systems, systems of human beings?
As the most complex system that sustains us as human beings, life’s stability is found at the interface of outcomes and development, of the already-finished state of nouns that are balanced by the becoming state of verbs. Life’s creativity is found at the interface of development and potential, of the becoming state of verbs and the possibility state of light energy. Finding this interface, where life is creative and manifests, evolving as some innovations work better in the ever-changing environment, is the power of healthy networks. Embedding a process of evolutionary discovery and alignment with a deeper shared purpose scales network power into tangibilization power, where deep collaboration brings orders of magnitude greater impact and resilience.