As an inkster who writes about things various and whose book uses fantasy as a vehicle to sometimes show what’s happening in the world today, I continue to be fascinated by what’s occurring in the world of politics, both here in the UK and Europe but also, obviously, in the United States. Many moons ago, I was heavily involved in organisational change. This included supporting those impacted by the changes that were being initiated. Some welcomed change, others had genuine concerns, whilst a small number were hostile to the extent of being deliberately obstructive. The reason for this was they felt that change impacted their ‘version’ of reality, values, self esteem, authority, and so on.
Change invariably involves chaos, especially at the beginning of any change programme, hence my interest in chaos theory. Do a quick search on the web and you’ll come across a number of definitions.
For example: ‘The main idea of chaos theory is that a minor difference at the start of a process can make a major change in it as time progresses.’
Here’s another: ‘Chaos theory is a mathematical theory that can be used to explain complex systems such as weather, astronomy, politics, and economics. Although many complex systems appear to behave in a random manner, chaos theory shows that, in reality, there is an underlying order that is difficult to see.’
‘Politics and economics…’ Hmmm. This appeals.
The ‘difficult to see’ comment was reinforced by an individual I met who not only had a deep knowledge of the maths involved but also a strong understanding of social dynamics within organisations. He put it to me this way: ‘No matter how chaotic things are at the beginning, eventually some kind of pattern emerges. You may not see it for a while, sometimes a long while, but it’ll be there. The secret is to keep looking and once you’re aware, react to it.’
Currently we have a hyper-chaotic state in the US, (political, financial, social, etc.) Number 45 continues to cause chaos and mayhem by his behaviour / tweets. It has been over 14 months since this individual entered the White House. However, the chaos his behaviour originally created is now being managed somewhat more credibly and thoughtfully than it was at the beginning. Why? Because people are starting to see a pattern in his behaviour and value systems, (or lack of them). They are responding to an emerging pattern and the world, believe it or not, is settling down, even though it’s still dangerous…
Now, here’s a thought. There are times when there is a need for a chaotic input to any system especially if the issues being faced by the person in the street are not being dealt with by the ‘natural order’ / ‘common sense’ that has held sway for years or even decades.
When people are frustrated and angry, they will vote for change, even a change they know might create chaos. They have become so disillusioned with the status quo, with big business and the elites running the world, of being ignored, that they say they’ve had enough and vote accordingly. And, to be honest, I can’t blame them.
Obviously there’s a downside. Chaos can also provide the opportunity for someone who has no value system apart from their own self aggrandisement to be able to make outrageous claims against a different ‘tribe’ from the one they say they are representing.
So, how to deal with this hyper-chaotic environment. Simple, grasp the opportunity it offers. Stop thinking within the same boundaries / limitations that created the situation in the first place. Offer ‘off-the-wall’ options that previously would have been considered insane. Offer them, see what happens and then offer more. And more. Don’t stop until you’ve created another pattern. Be aware that chaos can be your friend.
Change was needed, is needed. It will continue to be needed, thankfully, and then once the pattern becomes clear to everyone the world will settle down again. Until the next time…
That ‘off-the-wall’ is required is obvious. The damage done by Number 45 and others like him will have been significant and ‘normal’ won’t fix it.
I repeat, ‘normal’ won’t fix it.
J J Mitchell
‘Never leave anyone behind’