The Science of Interconnectedness: PART III — HOMEOSTASIS, CHAOS, ORDER, & THE WORLD

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Chaos and Order

As a general rule of thumb, homeostasis is healthy. But we do not always want systems to stay in homeostasis. The same “set point” over time can be static or inflexible. Systems must also be able to adapt and grow. This means reorganizing into higher levels of organization. Systems that are flexible and open to change will do this automatically — they self-organize into more coherent states. However, systems that are rigid and averse to change will maintain their status quo or break down completely. In a constantly evolving world, inflexibility is not a formula for success.

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The Earth as a Single Organism

If our bodies, cities, and economies are complex systems that abide by the rules of homeostasis, might the earth also fit this description? Is the earth a “scaled up” version of our bodies; or, rather, are our bodies formed in the image of the earth?


Levinson, S. & Lo, A. (2019). What can mother nature teach us about managing financial systems? In D. Krakauer (Ed.), World Hidden in Plain Sight: The Evolving Idea of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute (originally published in Christian Science Monitor, 2016). Santa Fe, New Mexico: Santa Fe Institute Press.



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Matthew S. Goodman, Ph.D.

Matthew S. Goodman, Ph.D.


Clinical Psychologist. Clinical Assistant Professor @ USC. Founder/CEO of The Middle Way. Writing on interconnectedness and compassion in self and society.