I’ve tried numerous times to write something that would be deemed positive. I mean well, but I find I’m inclined to use the technique of first understanding where it is you stand in the grand scheme of things and going from there. I have however been told of a different technique. Some have referred to it as the ‘Shit Sandwich’, in that you cover the shit, or the harsh truth, in two slices of niceties be they trivial or otherwise.
So with this technique in mind I would like to inform you that we are now in what some have called a Chaos window. I know, it sounds rather ominous but there’s an awesome silver lining that I think we should remind ourselves of. Hungarian philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, and classical pianist Ervin László talks about this in his life altering (for me, at least) book, The Chaos Point: The World At The Crossroads. He says;
‘A Chaos Window is a transitory period in the evolution of a system during which any input or influence, however small, can “blow up” to change existing trends and bring new trends and processes into existence.’
Ok so where’s the silver lining in that? Well, I find solace in knowing that, as László says, ‘any influence, however small’ can change things. If you’re a little like me and are regularly and realistically faced with the daunting task at hand, and have found yourself at one time or another revert to feelings of helplessness in face of our current global adversity, then this one’s for you. Or of course if you just want to use the understanding as a reference to how a particular company may take advantage of a particular vacuum in a market and “blow up” their profits, then sure, if it helps you understand it a little better, why not? We do need to remember though that László’s book wasn’t called Using Chaos to Your Advantage: 26 ways to capitalise this summer.
He makes this observation with a comprehensive understanding of systems theory. Systems theory is basically the study of natural processes, but for László it’s on a global scale. In doing so he points out that, yes we are in a position that could easily be referred to as chaos, but at least we can do something about it, because that window’s open and we can jump through it.
This is where the shit part of the sandwich comes into play. If, however, we don’t take the leap, this window could become a great deal harder to jump through, and if attempted at a later stage, could leave us all with more than just a few cuts and bruises. Any later still and the window will close, forcing us to have to consider a major global upheaval the likes of which… Well you know the story. I hope.
So without going to great lengths to explain climate change, environmental degradation, deforestation, monocultures, structural genocide and the like, I, as usual have one small happy suggestion that you and I can put into action. More or less immediately. I dare say, first off, we have a read. Look into a wide variety of sources, from a wide variety of scientists, nay sayers, hipsters, yuppies, chavs and bogans. Anyone. Then, being as honest as we can with ourselves, with our new found understanding, begin to question logically, critically and with an understanding that our perceptions of what is logical and what is critical may have to be reassessed. I won’t lie this could take anywhere from a few weeks to several years, but if we wish to know, we shall seek, and we shall find.
Once we have found, I would implore us to speak freely and openly about our new found understandings. These may be perceived as ramblings or unrealistic rhetoric for some, but persist, and resist the urge to sway from your firm comprehension of the larger issues. If these people are indeed friends and family then you divulging information would hopefully be received with open minds. Of course this isn’t, and can’t always be the case, if this is so, then a reassessment of our perceptions would do us good, as would seeking out like minded people.
This is the very basis of beginning the much lauded revolution. Open, inclusive, free-thinking, non-judgmental dialogue, and of course knowing that everything you do, from what it is you decide to have for lunch, to the way you interact with those around you, can and will affect the world in some way. In this globalized world a butterfly really can flap it’s wings in Northern France and start a typhoon in the South Pacific.
How’d you like your sandwich?