The Dangerous Reality of Esoteric Systems

What happens when the complexity of the systems that sustain us exceeds our capacity to understand or influence?

What does it mean when something is Esoteric?


  1. Intended for or understood by only a small group, especially one with specialized knowledge or interests: synonym: mysterious.
  2. Relating to or being a small group with specialized knowledge or interests.
  3. Not known by or suitable for the public; private.

You are surrounded by Esoteric Systems

The global supply chain, which is currently experiencing increased disruption, is an esoteric system. Photo by Julius Silver from Pexels

You participate in Esoteric Systems

Social media, which has become one of the dominant cultural elements of our shared global civilization, is an esoteric system. Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Esoteric systems are “Quantum”, man! [*bong hit*]

A natural ecosystem, including the global ecosystem, is an esoteric system. Photo by Luis del Río from Pexels

These are tools.

The measurement of time is an esoteric system. Individual clocks and calendars may be understood but a full understanding of the nature of time escapes us. Time has different meaning across different cultures. The complexity of the measurement of time will change drastically once our species becomes interplanetary. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Systemic trust is faith in esoteric systems

Digital technology has fully disrupted all esoteric systems.

The machine learning systems that are used by all of the big corporations everywhere in the world exist as part of esoteric system. Artificial general intelligence will be an esoteric system. Every other human mind is an esoteric system. Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

What is the solution?

Friendship is an esoteric system. Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

We need to have better conversations about all of this.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store