life is fractal: i want to work with people who understand that

in several areas of my life, there are groups of people i’m in conversation with about the difference between interpersonal dynamics and system dynamics.

in at least two of them, there is a constant back and forth between “us” and “the system.” there seems to be an “out there” that we’re working to effect/change and it seems to not matter to some folks how we are “in here.”

it’s getting clearer and clearer that the things i’ve read and have been taught are in strong opposition to that.

adrienne maree brown has articulated this most clearly in my mind:

“Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions”—I will repeat these words from Nick Obolenksy throughout this book because they are the clearest articulation of emergence that I have come across. In the framework of emergence, the whole is a mirror of the parts. Existence is fractal—the health of the cell is the health of the species and the planet.” — adrienne maree brown

in my mind, there is no difference between out there and in here. systems are fractal. nature is fractal and we (humans) are nature so we are fractal. how we each are individually is how we are in groups is how we are collectively. how we are at the smallest scale is how the system is at its largest scale. when we individually don’t know how to rest and slow down, our systems are that way as well.

a simple example is workaholism. when you work into the evening, you encourage workaholism around you by your actions (sending emails that require responses) and your output (if you work 18 hours/day and everyone else is working 8, you are just creating more output than them which creates more demand in the system for how much work your organization can do).

there are many other examples, but that’s not the point i wanted to make.

the point i wanted to make is that i am finding it increasingly hard to work with folks who don’t understand this. the energy it takes to convince collaborators of these facts is energy i could be using to actually do work. i love this malcolm x quote because it keeps me grounded when i find myself in moments like this:

Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn’t do what you do, or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today. — malcolm x

so this sentiment isn’t coming from a place of judgment. it’s coming from a place of learning more deeply what i think my work is and who i need to be partnered with to do it. in order to create the broader systemic reaction that i want to see, i have to embody it in my own life. and i think that means i need to work with people who understand the fractal nature of reality. i have and will continue to love everyone and i will begin choosing my collaborators with this new understanding in mind.

words / writing / post-processing
399w / 11min / 13min