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Inanna and the Hulluppu Tree (detail)

( Size: 50cm x 120cm )

Inanna and the Hulluppu Tree

Leila Kubba Kawash 1999.

Complexity comment:

The fantasy world of fairies, magic and monsters has gripped the human imagination from time immemorial. Even in our cold scientific age the popularity of science fiction and fantasy books is undiminished. This yearning for something different, something beyond our day-to-day world, reflects as escapism that indicates that this world of ours has many limitations. The Panglossian idea that this is the "best of all possible worlds" crumbles into dust at the first glance around the, largely man made, disasters that litter our planet.

Our apparent inability to improve the state of our world, to move it in a direction which presumably would satisfy our needs, our aspirations, is a clear indication that the structures we have erected are inadequate to the task. Rethinking political systems is a notoriously destructive task. Almost every attempt at revolution fails to move from existing state A to desired state B, but descends into state C, an anarchy of destruction far worst for most people than the starting state. This is inexcusable, yet so predictable from complexity theory. Large scale perturbations of a system generally cause massive reactions and two results are possible. Either the system will eventually recover its original state (with considerable casualties along the way) or it will flip into another attractor, a different state. Sadly the latter is rarely the one expected !

The only way to drive a complex system predictably from one state to another is by microevolution, by chains of small perturbations, each of which causes a small improvement. The repercussions of such small changes are monitorable and controllable, thus we can avoid the total breakdown so characteristic of revolutions. This incremental improvement is of course reminiscent of natural selection and indeed this provably effective organic measure for optimisation contrasts strongly with the more mechanical inorganic methods of destruction and replacement so characteristic of wasteful humanity... In the words of a Total Quality Management Guru:

"You cannot eat an elephant in one bite"

Page Version 1.1 March 2001