The universe is finally made up of matter / mass, energy, information and meaning and these manifestations are interchangeable. This gives meaning to the great universal fabric that everything is interconnected and we are part of that great network. This makes sense when the interactions between individual-society-human species are recognized; body-mind-physiology-word-action; body-nervous system-environment; object-subject-alter ego; paradigms-thoughts-feelings-actions, among many other manifestations of concurrency, connectivity and coupling. This leads us to recognize human complexity as a biopsychosocial (environmental) (techno) entity. It then implies overcoming the reductively rationalist vision that has dominated us up to now that does not account for the complex nature of the human being. Rationalist is saying a lot when we have big problems that we have created and we do not know or do not want to solve. Sapiens is an ironic last name if we do not recognize the demons that live in us. The great challenge then is how to make integration concurrences produce emergencies of peace and sustainability, it is how to make the universal brotherhood human-nature-cosmos triumph in the game of goodness and drives, recovering the great sense of totality and of unity.
We are all members of systems and as such we are part of interactions whether we are aware of it or not. We have interactions between people, and interactions between people and nature and the cosmos; interactions with the past (because our history is always present) and interactions with the future (because what we do or stop doing today will have repercussions for future generations). We are part of the universal plot both at the micro level and at the macro level.
Therefore, it is important to recognize that we are not alone and that all our paradigms, thoughts, feelings and manifestations (actions, discourses, narratives, attitudes and behaviors), whether we like it or not, are always interrelated. It is up to us not to let the arrow of time dissipate energy and reign disorganization, disintegration or wear and tear. Let us put information, meaning, images and emotions so that the arrow of time leads to integration, to the construction of an authentic spread of smiles and of legitimate pride in contributing to a better world. It is in this context that we can understand the importance of complex thinking for the expansion of socio-environmental awareness.
To think in a complex way in good account means a predisposition and ability to think and look beyond the obvious and in an articulated way. Complex thinking is that thought that has the ability to perceive, interpret and explain reality in a totalizing, systemic, integrative, critical and strategic way in such a way that the entire spectrum of possibilities can be covered. Therefore, complex thinking does not remain in what is known, what is legitimized, what is positivized, what is regulated, what is standardized; Nor does it remain in averages, regularities, continuities, but rather has the ability to perceive, assess and incorporate the strange, the strange, the unforeseen, the sudden, the irregularities, the discontinuities, the breaks, the fractures, the bifurcations, the irruptions, the sudden, the emergencies, the popular, the local, the emotional, the intuitive.
Complex thought is one that is capable of thinking about its own thinking, in this sense it is open to self-criticism and predisposed to the fruitful creative and innovative attitude to emerge.
Unlike the thought that separates, fragments, atomizes, isolates complex thought has one of its central attributes in its articulation. It is, therefore, interwoven, interwoven, interwoven, green. Its totalizing approach that values diversity, plurality, heterogeneity considers that all sources of knowledge have their own energy and information that must be managed. This is how diversity forms of thought, knowledge and theories are articulated. But it is not just any articulation if not one that is critical, reflective, weighted and pertinent. Therefore, complex thinking has the ability to unite through association and involvement.
Thus it articulates matter / mass with energy, information and meaning; the multiple dimensions, scales and temporalities; the different planes, levels, hierarchies; the various approaches, approaches, languages and methods; the various meanings, senses and feelings; the mind with the body, the body with the spirit; reason with emotion; reason with intuition; society and nature, nature and culture; science with philosophy, with ethics, aesthetics, art, literature; science with technology and technique, science with practice; science with knowledge; engineering with poetry; mathematics with poetry; values with facts, among many other dualities that the West has generated. Considering the principles of dialogicity and recursion, complex thinking should also be better articulated with the sciences of complexity.
Complex thinking is a special way of interpreting reality that is multidimensional, multiscalar, multitemporal, and deeply intertwined. Complex thinking does not refer only to the brain but to the whole body (nervous system + body) and its relationship with the environment, it can also be said that it encompasses action as an extension of the word. Complex thinking is not an exclusively individual process because it is also the product of interaction with the other. This does not ignore our own internal dialogue but whose meanings are always constructed in the interaction of our own experience and environment.
The complex attribute of complex thinking does not mean complicated. It simply means opening the perspective, the mind, the senses and the whole body to new ways of interpreting reality by not staying in the world of the known.
Complex thinking is ubiquitous, which is not to say that all reality is complex. We can find it in the academic field as a strategy for reflection, research, knowledge and proposal. In the workplace as an attitude to seek creative and innovative ways of acting. In the field of everyday life, when it becomes a way of life to ask everything, reflect on everything, question everything in search of new and infinite possibilities. We can also find it in the methodological field when you develop a strategy to interpret complex reality.
Complex thinking as an ethical-political attitude is tremendously transformative. Seeks to indeterminate reality and indiscipline knowledge, institutions and established statutes is a way of breaking the models made, the finished concepts, the institutionalized forms of power. Change can start from nuclear power to a powerful provocative question.
Articulation, dialogicity and synergies as foundations of complex thought:
There is no doubt that the cognitive and operational strategies of division, fragmentation, and atomization have made great contributions to humanity. But it must be honestly recognized that given the complexity of today's world, these strategies are absolutely insufficient and even become ineffective. Keep thinking and acting that from your sector, from your functions and limited competencies, from your discipline, from your epistemic, theoretical, conceptual frameworks, tools and procedures, you are going to solve the problems of your field and the world is out of date. Part of reality can be approached from the framework of systems theory and from this perspective every system is within another system and therefore there are no closed systems. Everything is interconnected and to think that from a fragment or segment of a system you are going to generate relevant responses is illusory. We are full of examples of this and the most evident thing is that many of the great problems, such as corruption, are still alive and well. Recovering the sense of systems, interconnections and non-linear dynamics means recognizing that it is necessary to break boundaries of all kinds and dare to do things beyond the fiefdoms of power or comfort to which we have become accustomed. For creative and innovative responses to emerge, it is imperative to have the vocation to indeterminate and indiscipline reality. The ability to challenge, challenge, transgress and alter is required to regain the sense of the fabric and intertwining of which we are part. This is true for management, for education, for life itself. Hence the deep meaning of articulation and religance as genuine acts of metamorphosis, transformation or revolution. The articulation is fundamental for the construction of sustainable societies. Hence the relevance of socio-environmental approaches that go beyond sectoral and partial approaches.
The nature of complex thinking:
Complex thought is not only a cognitive process but it mobilizes the whole being, therefore it requires other epistemological frameworks, other ways of conceiving, thinking, feeling and manifesting to value diversities and pluralities. It implies plasticity and flexibility to move between order and disorder, between tangible and intangible, between certainties and uncertainties. All this to contribute to the transformation of reality in a creative and innovative way and to be able to face border problems, which are those that cannot be assumed from reductionist, disjunctive, mutilating, linear, deterministic and static disciplinary perspectives.
Attitudes for complex thinking:
One of the edges of complex thinking has to do with attitude. To develop complex thinking requires the following attitudes: observation and active listening; Mental opening; ability to face the unknown, the unknown, the strange, the strange, the singular, the blurred, the uncertainty; flexibility, tolerance, respect; ability to problematize, inquire, investigate, suspect; ability to ask, question; critical capacity; capacity to provoke, indeterminate, unbalance, indiscipline; ability to argue; ability to dialogue, discuss, debate; ability to articulate, reconnect and synergize; ability to dream possible and desirable futures.
To the extent that we develop complex thinking, we will be able to get out of the trap of finished ideologies that have sold us and that we continue to be disciplined and “happy” because they make us think that this is the best. Better for mainstream and conservative groups but not necessarily better for us. In this sense, complex thinking becomes a transformative and liberating option.
For a complex alternative thinking to a domesticated thinking:
It is very comfortable to think that everything is already thought or simply to be thought by others as being spoken by others. Thinking that everything is already thought of gives you comfort, security and psychological balance. Thinking that there is nothing more to think about because the great thinkers have already done it, takes you away from uncomfortable uncertainty, irregularities, and misunderstandings. It is easier to belong to the group that thinks in common.
Thinking that there is much to (re) think makes you uncomfortable, disturbing, destabilizing, destructuring, iconoclastic heretic. It is when the act of thinking becomes genuine resistance and harbors a transforming, creative and innovative spirit.
We are the limit of our thoughts, if we expand our consciousness, feelings and emotions, then we will have other perspectives and we can see new possibilities that are already exhausted in supposedly finished thoughts, no matter how much they dress in the hierarchy of power and the arrogance of science, of politics or economics. In this context, thinking about what has not been thought, looking at what has not been seen and feeling what has not been felt expands our world beyond the average, the established, the normalized, standardized or instituted. There are brothers and sisters, a lot to (re) think about.
Rodrigo Arce Rojas