The above graph shows how a system state (here promotor activity), depicted on the y-axis, is affected by some input (activator concentration), depicted on the x-axis. One of the things that first got me interested in systems biology was an example from a book by Kauffman with a similar kind of a graph, where the different speeds at which the system went from low to high values on the y-axis, depended on the size of the system. He showed in a very simple and generic example that as the size of the system grows, as the complexity of the system grows, the change from low to high values happens in a more and more switch-like manner. In other words, you cannot see what is about to happen on the global scale until very shortly after it has made the majority of the switch; but on the local scale the signs can be seen. This is a good reminder that our global systems - which certainly are highly complex - very well may change from one operating mode to another one in quite a short time, and that things might not be as bleak as they seem - the might be close to meaningful fundamental change. Picture from here.
In these times of increasing revelations of surveillance, government overreach, injust or sometimes even absent court rulings, etc etc, it is easy to become frustrated, and perhaps even hopeless, and judgemental - just reporting and focusing on all the things that are wrong with the world. I think that that is understandable, but to some extent unnecessary and counter-productive. It is, in my view, much better to join in with thought-streams that point to the direction of things building up. To things that inspire you. To things that give you hope. Give them your energy, give them your awareness, spread awareness of those things - and the system and pattern that they represent will gradually take over more and more, as the old systems are falling apart.
A few examples:
It is, for many people including me, becoming more and more clear how manipulated and controlled our mainstream media channels are. This is easy to get frustrated about, both about the revelations, and about the fact that nothing seems to change in these organisations. However, there are also many good signs (as I wrote about e.g. in the following fb-status), and quite generally there are now more ways to get information than ever before: blogs, facebook, twitter, forums, etc. My advise is therefore to focus on the good signs, to use these new channels, help finance these new structures, and so let them grow and become more and more able to fully take over, when the old media structures crumbles.
An important transition point has been reached, when the new system is the norm, and the old system the oddity. In this picture, non-ecological bananas are referred to as "treated with toxins". You can still buy them, but with this - more correct! - marketing, this product is bound to leave the market pretty soon. The picture is from a real shop in the north of Sweden, and taken from here.
Our mainstream food is currently being poisoned and maltreated in a wide variety of ways: it is being transported wide distances and eaten long after its harvesting; it is being treated with pesticides and other toxins (which enters into the food), in order to maximize the mass-production; it is being processed and mixed together into all sorts of absurd combinations of substances where many of the ingredients have nothing to do with food; etc etc. However, also here there are coming more and more ecological and nearby-produced products into our shops, and into our shopping-possibilities. I myself, have to 95% made the switch to a completely ecological diet: nowadays, if an ecological version of a product does not exist, I almost always buy some other product altogether. And if an ecological alternative exists, I virtually always buy it. You could therefore say that I am already almost exclusively living in a world that is completely ecological. Therefore, that there still remains parts of the system that still haven't crumbled together does not disturb me that much. And the more people that make the same shift, the more improved these ecological food production chains become. And since the food is better (more tasty, whole-some, etc), and as developing people tend to care more and more about their health, these new food production structures are bound to eventually out-compete the old ones.
Economics is certainly one of the systems that angers many people nowadays. But also here, I think it is becoming increasingly clear that our current system is heading towards some kind of major breakdown. If you know where to look, there are also many signs of alternative systems that are being introduced into the mix, and that gradually can take over when this happens, so that it won't be a catastrophic event, but a gradual transition felt as a relief, shifting us into a more well-functioning structure. I am actually arranging a workshop on this topic, and is therefore bound to write much more about this in the nearby future. For now, I just want to say that our aim is to have some influential and insightful speakers here, and to make the workshop lie in the intersection between politics, science, media, and the general public. And some of the themes will be peer-to-peer economy, bitcoin, a reformed copyright/patent-system, etc. All of these are systems which are being introduced already, and that are more and more outcompeting the existing system, on area after area.
There are many many other similarly important topics which basically follows the same pattern. I will, however, stop here, and only give you a TED-talk (in case you have missed it) which presents how local government can be transformed using citizen participation organized via the internet.