Steering for the organizational Lagrange Point

A discussion comment from a LinkedIn conversation on Systems Thinking World to clarify what “steering” means for complex systems and in response to a question (paraphrased).

So can you describe how “small changes at a location in a system alters the direction of the whole,” discussing the theory, certainly, but also examples because this dense country boy sometimes has trouble wrapping his mind around abstractions.


Yes, it would help to think of “steering point” as referring to a potential for controlling the direction of something, unless also speaking of someone or thing using it to steer something. They might also be like Lagrange Points in space, where due to a balance of forces it’s easier to turn.

For natural systems there’s a particularly large variety of situations where “small change” has “big influence”.  It would include all the temporary positive “feedbacks”.  You might as well just start listing them at the beginning.  There was the “big bang”.  We didn’t directly observe it but from all appearances it was produced by a process that multiplied from small beginnings, and really really blew up.  That original chain of events was very small and had big results!

That ANY event in nature implicitly starts with its own “big bang” of a sort is one of the curious direct implications of the continuity principle.   The proof is that it would violate energy conservation for energy uses to start without developing, requiring an individual burst of energy uses and the development of the processes doing it for every event.

True, you often don’t notice them, but with a little experience you can find them most places, like in a keystroke.  Any keystroke begins with a brief multiplying cascade of focused energy releases to move your finger, “kaboom” is how it would sound if you stretch out the time scale and have a volume control on the energy surge moving your finger.   It’s the attack of the “ka…” sound at the beginning of that word (same use of “attack” as in music), that refers to the explosive growth period if the local self-organizing system that releases the directed energy. Continue reading Steering for the organizational Lagrange Point