Manfred Laubichler: “When something goes wrong in a system there is no simple single cause”
The last talk of the first session was given by Manfred Laubichler from Arizona State University.
Complex systems science, Manfred started, did so far not focus much on collapse.
When systems fail, the usual way to look at it is an immediate search for a single cause. The problem with that is, that it sets up a dichotomy: One state is the “normal” state, the other the “unnormal” and thus the one that should be fixed.
The better way would be to see the “unnormal”, for instance cancer cells in a body, as part of the system. “We could then start to manage the system and [try to] avoid collapse,” Manfred said.
Speaking of societies (and later on of the Earth ecosystem) Manfred states that in times of the Anthropocene we all don’t go unaffected when a society collapses. “We need a copernican revolution: If we come from a point of view of a planetary management, derived from our understanding of what the boundaries of habitability actually are; and the fact that we as a species (and making the decisions) want to remain within these boundaries, we have to start with a model that is not grounded primarily in physics but that is grounded in the social sciences of complex societies.”
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