Systems Theory

The Ultimate Key to Understanding Our World


Our world is full of stuff, and it's all connected in crazy ways.

You’re an individual, connected to friends, family, and colleagues, who all are part of society. A society shaped by culture and driven by the economy which, in turn, emerges from the billions of interactions between individuals.

The larger system we’re part of is trippy — and we haven’t even mentioned technology, politics or the media.

Much of what we experience as reality, both big and small, emerges from the interaction of dozens, hundreds or even millions of individual parts. Reality is a system.

Systems Theory is all about studying the relationships between the parts of a bigger picture. Whether it’s the weather, the economy, organizational culture, team dynamics, product development, or your personal relationships with your spouse, friends and family — all of these are systems.

Systems are more than just their individual pieces; they have unique properties, like synergy, boundaries, cyclical interactions, feedback loops and, the most powerful and almost mystical of all, emergence.

Emergence occurs when what the whole does can’t be explained by what its parts do — but only by how they interact. No interaction, no emergence. And in a system, parts always interact.

Systems theory is like a secret decoder ring for understanding the world we live in. It's the study of how everything is connected, from people to plants to technology.

Basically, it's the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So, if you want to understand how things really work, you need to look at whether what you have in front of you is a system (usually, it is) and how many of these parts and their interactions will play a role over time.

To systems

- Phil

Here are 3 other concepts you might benefit from:

The Anna Karenina Principle

Why Errors Dominate Everything

Causal Reductionism