complex & simple, difficult & easy

Photo by karsten madsen on

Hey, Friend,

I keep using the word complex a lot. And it is not simple. It does not have to be difficult either. It can be easy. And simple can be difficult. Agreed? Or confused?

This is how I am using these words: I say complex when I see many different parts or variables that interact. Again and again. The system is dynamic. It changes. It is complex. When you plot how the system – or only one of its variables – changes over time, you get a nonlinear graph and not a straight line. It is complex. If there is only one variable – which is very rare – then its change is simple. The change is steady. Cause and effect are proportionate. The graph is linear. Simple. David Snowden calls these simple problems.

Most things, most processes are complex. It’s the interacting parts and variables. A complex process or even a task does not have to be difficult. Difficult is subjective. It is a category of our mind. Complex is a feature of the thing itself. Simple is a feature of the thing itself. So, I can experience the simple as difficult. (And personally, then I am procrastinating or it is more likely that I do.) And of course, I can find the complex easy. If I put my mind to it and tackle it now.

Each day, each week, …

Photo by Mathew Thomas on
Denn immer, immer wieder geht die Sonne auf 
Und wieder bringt ein Tag für uns ein Licht 
Ja, immer, immer wieder geht die Sonne auf 
Denn Dunkelheit für immer gibt es nicht 

For every morn again the sun is rising
And anew a day brings us a light
Yes, every morn again the sun is rising
As darkness forever does not exist

Thomas Hörbiger/ Udo Jürgens, 1967

Hey, Friend,

I don’t think I have started any blog post on Panta Rhei with poetry. It was time. Time to change it up a little. Time to write. Time to post something more lyrical here and not just on Texterium. Time.

What does this have to do with complexity, a regular reader of this blog has asked. And what does it have to do with change? It’s where the change comes from: a new day, a new week, … Each moment is new. Time changed from a moment ago. I changed from a moment ago. You changed from a moment ago. And who knows what the next moment will be like. What the new day will bring … What the long weekend will bring … (For me, this weekend starts today. On Friday.) Let’s make a whish, then it will be good. Things will change. As they always do in their complex ways.

Oh, and what does the pre in the heading mean? P R E … Panta Rhei Enterprise. I have put posts in categories. This little one is a meta-post. On topic. And on the blog itself.

A good day to all.

The homepage

I have updated Panta Rhei‘s homepage … and thought let me send it out also.


Thank you for coming by. Is it the blog that got you interested? Where you googling Panta Rhei? Are you thinking a lot about complexity and change? Have a look ’round and feel free to get in touch.

Chris and I started this site and blog in late 2019. We both like writing, and talking, about the complexities and simplicities of life, about working in groups and leadership, and about learning and teaching both in the chaotic and the virtual worlds. We both have years of experience in language and communication, education and training, management and leadership. We wanted to share our ideas, our expertise, and our insight with a wider audience. Worth a try, we thought. A lot has happened since then. Both of us are working full time. Chris started dedicating his time to narrating audio books. I have put more emphasis on my writing per se. Learning new things, joining writing groups and courses, …

What is happening here?

Years of learning, reading, listening, experiencing, doing, reflecting, leading, following, smiling, crying, talking, writing, … Then it was time to share, time for this site, time for this blog:

On the complexity of change

Most of nature is complex. Most of society is complex. Human behavior is complex. And, as the cliché has it, the only constant is change. And this change is not linear. Sometimes it seems we soar ahead, sometimes it feels like we walk ’round in circles, and sometimes we are taken for a ride. On a rollercoaster. It is this complexity of change that I am exploring, that I am relfecting on. One blog post at the time. Thinking about it, learning about Chaos Theory, Complexity Science, Dynamic Systems Theory, I have now done for 15 years.

Under this topic, I blog about timely concepts, practices, and reflections, which I believe to be relevant to trainers, teachers, coaches, mentors, and, of course, learners.

RoLL: Research on learning and language

Look around a bit more. Or why not join the growing group of people who follow the Panta Rhei Blog? [In case you are wondering, the relevant button is in the top-right corner of each page or underneath the text and comment box, if you are reading this on your phone.]

The posts Chris wrote on the BASE model are also still available.

Get in Touch

If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, comment right on the page or post or send a quick email to I live and work in Southern California. If you happen to be in the area and would like to meet, again an email is good.

Find the contact details and social media handles on a separate page.

Panta Rhei – everything flows and changes, and so does this site. Come back again. Wishing you a wonderful day.

Connected forest lake in Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
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