Play around with, inquire into, and explore a variety of topics and issues in this area of Passionate Meanderings. Please jump in and share your findings, insights, and questions in the Comments, below, and, if you're a Meanderer Member, elaborate further and even start a new group and forum.

As you play around and explore, try to take perspectives that are situated within the contexts of living systems, of the human experience, of the interdependencies among all living and social systems, and of living systems, in general. One of the big challenges in taking these sorts of perspectives is how we've all been deeply embedded in perspectives that are pretty much diametrically opposed to seeing our living world as complex living systems. But, the challenge lies in the insidiousness of our current mechanistic, reductionistic, and positivistic worldviews or paradigms. Even those of us who investigate and think about complexity often fall prey to using reductionist, mechanistic, and positivistic approaches to thinking. Such approaches have risen or descended, depending on your point of view, to the level of "common sense" or "just the way we think" assumptions.

René Descartes, 1596-1650.
Isaac Newton, 1643-1727.

These three assumptions took root 400 years ago from the work of René Descartes, which was then solidified and expanded upon less than a century later by Isaac Newton and other scientists. However, the Complexity Sciences, which may sound off-putting at first, are pretty much the opposite of those positivist, reductionist, and mechanistic ideas that led to the development of "modern science." Complexity has to do with how living systems work. Such living systems include everything from a single bacterium to the biosphere, as well as all of our social systems. Aboriginal people understood the nature of these systems way before the scientists who have been exploring these systems over the past century. In fact, we all have significant experiential knowledge of complex systems, since we are complex systems and live in even larger intertwined complex systems.

Mountain forest ecosystem, Flagstaff, Arizona. ©2011 by Jeffrey W. Bloom

The activities in this section of Passionate Meanderings provide opportunities to play, explore, and investigate a variety of ideas and issues from the perspectives associated or compatible with the view of complex living systems. As opposed to most of our formal learning experiences, the attempt here is to provide opportunities to not only learn about complexity, but also to learn through complexity and to experience our own learning as complexity.

Our List of Explorations

Contexts of Learning

What's Wrong With Schools?

A brief overview of the problems with contemporary schooling.

Complex Living Systems

A Brief Introduction to Complexity

A very brief introduction and exploration of the complexity sciences.

Introduction to & Explorations of Transcontextuality

An initial exploration of transcontextuality and transcontextual thinking.

Learning & Thinking

Learning - Symmathesy

An examination of the foundations of learning -- across species and contexts. Nora Bateson's notion of "symmathesy" or mutual contextual learning is the focus.


Learning - Knowledge & Epistemology ***COMING SOON***

An exploration of the depth and extent of our knowing.


  • Explorations of Epistemology & Contexts of Meaning
    • Explorations of Stochastic Processes
    • Explorations of of Abstractions or "The Map Is Not the Territory"
    • Explorations of Context
    • Explorations of "Proof"
    • Explorations of Counting, Measuring, and Quantifying

Approaches to Learning Through Play, Exploration, Inquiry, etc.

Inquiry -- Introduction ***COMING SOON***

An overview of inquiry along with a number of explorations into a variety of different ways to inquire into our world.


  • Inquiry into the Natural World
    • Social Inquiry
    • Art as Inquiry
    • Poetry as Inquiry

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