In memoriam: Paul Cilliers: Complexity thought leader

One of the foremost thought leaders in complex systems and complexity, Prof Paul Cilliers of Stellenbosch University died on 31 July 2011 in Cape Town at the age of 55. He wrote various books on the topic, including Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems and Explorations in Complexity Thinking.
I used his theories in my thesis and found it applicable to intelligence analysis:
Drawing from Cilliers’ summary of the impact of complexity on our understanding of the world around us, it can be concluded that the intelligence community should realise that a threat or issue can only be understood and analysed within its own environment or context and not from the outside. This supports the argument from scholars and practitioners that analysts and other intelligence professionals should have the opportunity to gain first-hand exposure to, or immersion in those cultures and problems that are of intelligence value. Also, while analysing an issue or threat, it has to be borne in mind that the context itself changes continuously, which means that the issue or threat is also continuously adapting to its changing environment, increasing the possibility that our understanding could well be dated or even irrelevant. Our understanding of any system is always just a “snapshot” of it at a specific time and within a specific context, and not the whole truth. This forces the analyst to be actively aware of the fluidity of a intelligence problem, focusing on variables that might change its essence and dynamics.
The fact that a specific intelligence issue can be described in different ways and from different perspectives emphasises the necessity for bringing in multiple analysts or experts to evaluate it. One analyst might only view the problem from one angle at first, but by engaging in conversation and collaborating with others, these perspectives could grow and be enhanced to become more encompassing.