“While in the past… [we] tended to think of organization as something extra, something added to the elementary variables, the modern theory… regards organization as a restriction or constraint.” W. R. Ashby

As dynamic systems stabilize, they creatively enable certain outcomes to be more likely than others. In this way, the system becomes both creatively enabling and constraining. While we often think of constraints as physical things that hold us back – for example, a pair of handcuffs, in the complexity sciences approach, constraints are not things but stable states of a system that have a productive or creative force.

All order — all life emerges via constraints. The first thing to note about order is that it involves moving from more possibility to less. When something emerges as some specific thing in a repeated manner (say granite or a shoe) of all possibilities of what it could become it is becoming only a small subset of these. The vast field of possibilities has been constrained in a regular manner to produce a limited outcome. 

Constraints are dynamic and statistical — they are about patterns where something is more likely than others to happen. And such a pattern begets further patterns — constraints propagate, and this propagation gives rise to complex order.  To understand why something is the way it is, and to understand why it is not something else — why it is constrained intrinsically and extrinsically to be less than what it could be. And that this lessness is an achievement. This lessness is a creative act.

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