Higher Order Consequences

The Idea

Edited and curated by @philhagspiel

We need to consider not only the effects of our actions but also the effects of these effects.


All of our actions produce consequences — both those we intended to produce and those we didn’t. However, all of the consequences caused by our actions will become causes to yet more consequences themselves — consequences of consequences.

In a highly interconnected world, domino effects are the rule, not the exception. And it is often those domino effects which, if unaccounted for, change the trajectory of our paths in surprising ways.

Whether it's ecology, business, politics or our personal interactions with other people, anticipating higher order consequences of actions is a cornerstone of thorough decision making — especially when the stakes are high.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."

— John Muir


A few further resources you might like if you find above idea interesting: