Tag Archives: Nature

Meaning and nature

As humans, we seek meaning in our lives. Believing that we’re here for a reason keeps us engaged in life and motivated towards our goals.

As a result, we weave our lives into stories where events follow one another, driven by an overarching theme. This theme may be one of destiny, tragedy, comedy, or other.

But nature doesn’t care for our meaning. Nature is governed by the laws of the hard sciences and when these laws collide with the meaning that we have set for ourselves, it is the scientific laws that win.

In other words, nature doesn’t care how you feel.

When this happens, you revisit the story of your life and adjust it to once again achieve a coherent story. You recreate meaning in your life. This meaning may or may not be the same as the meaning which had existed prior to it colliding with nature.

You then go back to your life, believing in the new meaning that you have created for yourself.

While nature continues to not care.

System dynamics

When a cause is introduced into a system, there’s an immediate and often obvious effect.

However, if we’re dealing with a complex system, the cause often has multiple less obvious effects, and many of these effects have follow-on effects which are challenging to predict. As a result, the final outcome, if there is such a thing, can be very different than what the immediate and obvious effect would suggest.

System dynamics is the study of such complex systems where causes produce multiple effects with follow-on effects.

As a complex system, nature produces many great examples of observations which can be analyzed from the lens of system dynamics. Here’s an example of what happened after wolves were introduced to Yellowstone National Park.