Nonlinearliity means that the act of playing the game has a way of changing the rules.*
In wicked domains the rules of the game are often unclear or incomplete, there may not be repetitive patterns and they may not be obvious, and feedback is often delayed, inaccurate, or both. In the most devilishly wicked learning environments, experience will reinforce the exact wrong lessons.**
Today, there’ll be many small “happenings” that will change
our day many times over.
Many of these
won’t even be noticed by us:
A message we hadn’t anticipated receiving,
Someone calls by to have a word,
We hear an idea that engages us for
the rest of the day.
We’re so used to them,
But they are what Bruce Feiler labels disruptors.
There are larger ones of course,
Feiler offering five headings:
There’s something here for each of us.
We may try to tidy up
the chaotic nature of
Imposing upon it some way of
understanding and controlling that will
work for a while,
Until it doesn’t –
I know I do –
But the best way forward
Is to engage,
To play the game.
We each have preferred ways for doing this,
Ways we have developed in response
to all the disruptions we have experienced in
The talents and abilities that make it possible for us to
play the infinite game.
*Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In the Transitions;
**David Epstein’s Range.