On Mechanistic and Living Systems | Devin Vodicka | 5 Min Read

March 25, 2022

We must move away from a mechanistic view of the universe to one that recognizes and supports living systems. This shift in perspective begins to make clear a number of implications for our work as educators.  In a mechanistic mindset, the view tends to be narrowly focused on closed systems with the idea that optimizing the parts is the way to get to solutions.  The “parts” are inert and unable to find their own way which requires an external activator.  In a living systems view, the “parts” are alive and they exercise agency as they grow.  As living beings, they are not reliant on an external activator and they have the capacity to find their own solutions.  

In a closed, mechanistic system resources are finite and therefore each of the parts are competing for the resources that are needed.  In an open, living system, resources are abundant and can be recombined in many ways to better support each of the agents within the system.  Living systems benefit from cooperation. Symbiosis is an excellent illustration of this principle.  A classic example of two organisms benefiting the other in Finding Nemo is the symbiotic relationship between an anemone…

Register Now
You may use your member school or partner discount code !!!

Devin Vodicka

Devin Vodicka is the CEO of Learner-Centered Collaborative and the author of Learner-Centered Leadership. He is also three-time California superintendent of the year (2016 AASA, 2015 ACSA, 2015 Pepperdine), Innovative Superintendent of the Year (2014 Classroom of the Future Foundation), and nine-time White House invitee, both in recognition for district-wide achievement, and to advise and partner with the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Educational Technology and Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools.