Systems Thinking

Most human endeavours are absolutely dependent on complex, adaptive systems, in much the same way as all living organisms are part of ecosystems and cannot be understood in isolation. Unfortunately, the thinking we are taught in schools, up to a quite advanced level, is based on examining only a very small number of interactions at once. Systems thinking is a collection of tools to aid in the understanding of systems as a whole. Although specific types of system have entire disciplines to study them, there are a few tools that are useful for a quick analysis, particularly for bullshit detection.

Systems are often too complex for individual human brains to understand, so we must simplify the interactions within and between systems enough to be able to understand them as much as possible. We can, of course, supplement our brains with artificial intelligence to do that, whether that be through intelligent institutions like science or through computer AI. This set of thinking tools are designed to help us do that. At a minimum, we need to be able to identify bullshit and other issues to see where more work is required by other disciplines in order to be able to trust our understanding enough to use for important decisions.

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