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Working with Complexity

Marinella De Simone

Most of people use the term “complex” as an attribute referred to objects, phenomena and problems in order to define the difficulty of any given context, action or decision. People are tempted to simplify complex issues in the belief that this is the best way to address them.

However, in these situations the use of the term “complex” is wrong because it is improperly exchanged with what is better described as “complicated”. Only complicated things can be understood, explained and resolved through the simplification and the adoption of analytical methods. In contrast, the term complex refers to the dynamics of each element that generates the world. A complex system is a system in a constant state of change composed by interdependent relations among the elements within it. Complexity cannot be simply “reduced”, “simplified” or “broken down” because such approach leads to the loss of global information and meaning within the complex system itself.

What we are describing is a dynamic and emerging view of the world. To understand the world and the context in which we act it is necessary to assume a complex paradigm: this is the only way to give value to those generative qualities of interdependence, indeterminacy, incompleteness, and emergence, all elements that characterize our everyday life.