Tolerate complexity and welcome contradiction

The capacity to tolerate complexity and welcome contradiction, not the need for simplicity and certainty, is the attribute of an explorer. Centuries ago, when some people suspended their search for absolute truth and began instead to ask how things worked, modern science was born. Curiously, it was by abandoning the search for absolute truth that science began to make progress, opening the material universe to human exploration.
It was only by being provisional and open to change, even radical change, that scientific knowledge began to evolve. And ironically, its vulnerability to change is the source of its strength.
                            Heinz Padels in the 1985 book
                            Perfect Symmetry: The Search for the Beginning of Time
Interestingly almost 17 years later I would have substituted the word complexity for uncertainty. The Science paradigm has more recently been criticised for its obsession with categorization and bringing things into ‘order’, and is often the direct opposite of ‘being open to change’. What is even more intriguing for me is the ‘welcoming of contradiction’, for this is a mainstay of how we teach TRIZ. As a result, I thought for a moment about changing my role to ‘explorer’ but a quick search on google sees this niche fully occupied by windows browser and a large petrol guzzling vehicle . So for 2012 at least I will remain a ‘knowledge ecologist’, for ecology does have the overall capacity to tolerate complexity in fact its the best example of a system that does.

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