Dana Prives

Acquiring transformative literacy skills is a complex challenge that requires an understanding of the world’s complex interconnectedness and relational co-construction in which human agency acknowledges its co-evolutionary pathways with each other and the Earth. It requires an understanding of present and future systems and of the processes required to bring about transformations in those systems (Künkel & Ragnarsdottir, 2022).

Forrester’s word to describe complex systems was “counterintuitive” (Forrester,1971), and indeed looking at policy making arena’s patterns, it seems that comprehending interconnectedness is not only counterintuitive to most decision-makers, but the system of decision-making is at large counter-transformative. Acknowledging the counterintuitive character of complexity and interconnectedness brings about an epistemological question about how we know and alternative ways of knowing.

Forrester assumed that complexity is counter to common sense, the rational mind, and the cognitive function of our brains. Luckily, we are not brains nor minds- we are humans, carrying our brains at the top part of our body – a complex living system inside a complex social system. Grasping complexity requires us to counter our mind’s intuition and to connect to other intuitions that are more fertile for the grasping of and designing in a complex-social system arena.

To tackle this counterintuitive challenge of transformative literacy, we have an accessible, safe, free-of-charge tool: our human body, a complex system through which we can practice interconnectedness individually and collectively.


KEYWORDS: Transformative literacy, system awareness, embodiment, improvisation, system-sensing, complexity.

Posted September 2022 content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.