Understanding Behavior

“For 500 years, we all have been using a very simple model for thinking about living systems. Which is, if you want to understand something that’s complicated, you break it apart into its little pieces. And once you understand the little pieces and put it back together, you will understand the complex thing. And what ‘Chaos’ (book by James Gleick) (…) shows is… that’s how you fix clocks. That’s not how you fix behaviors. That’s not how you understand behaviors. Behavior is not like a clock. Behavior is like a cloud. And you don’t understand rainfall by breaking a cloud down into its component pieces and gluing them back together.

— Robert Sapolsky