The Predicament

Resources to Understand, Process, and Navigate the Predicament

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. I’m a concerned human who loves people and nature and life and our planet. I worry about the divisiveness and fear that permeates our world. While searching for something hopeful and actionable, I somehow stumbled upon systems thinkers who are seeking to make the world better. They don’t look at problems from a stand-alone perspective. Rather, they look at the factors that have caused the many crisis we face to emerge.

Every day I witness wars and rumors of wars, the destruction of people’s livelihoods and entire ecosystems, as well as the overall decline of heath and wellbeing. What is going on? Is there any possibility to include everyone into the mix of life?

We normally think that we are facing many serious problems, however, what we are actually facing is a predicament. Predicaments cannot be solved. The complexity of modern life, makes “individual” problems such as financial inequality, sharing of resources, pollution, the climate crisis, and migration, unsolvable. We’re in a global catch-22 where if we adjust one thing we mess up another.

We live in a domino world where we seem to be a precarious step away from causing the whole thing to tumble.

The people who study the relationship between these aspects of the world have come to call this complexity “The Predicament”. Other names include The Great Simplification, the Long Dark, the Polycrisis, and the Metacrisis.

Are we doomed? Is there hope?

What I have come to understand so far is that while most of the things we face are not solvable, there is meaningful action that I can take—that we can all take. It will look different for each of us as we are all in unique situations. What calls to you may not call to me, and that’s okay. We need to do what is ours to do.

I offer the following resources in no particular order. They are simply some things that have stood out for me and/or things that are challenging my worldview and causing me to pause and reflect.

While I am located in the USA, I do not ascribe to any political party (nor religion). I do not know what the best course of action in any area. Any solution or strategy I’ve come up with falls short when I “zoom out” and take multiple systems into consideration.

For example, you may or may not believe that we are facing a climate crisis. I personally do not believe that alternative energy strategies, such as electric vehicles or solar, are sustainable. I’d classify ’emissions reduction’ as good, but is it sustainable? No. All renewables require petroleum in the manufacturing process. (There’s so much to this topic alone!!) I don’t think it’s possible to “just stop oil” because our global financial system depends on it.

If we met, I would like to listen to your perspective with an open mind. I would hope you’d do the same for me.

Lately, whenever I encounter views that challenge me, I ask myself:

What if they’re right?
What if they’re wrong?

These questions help to expand my thinking and shift to curiosity. On what am I, you, and they basing their knowledge and beliefs?

I invite you to explore the information shared here with these questions in mind. No human can hold the whole of the world. We only get to experience one little corner of it, but that little corner is influenced by the whole of it.

“Acceptance does not mean surrender. It does not mean resignation. Acceptance means I am finally available to the entire spectrum of creative response.” —Trebbe Johnson

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