The Adjacent Possible*

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Read: Mark 8:22-26

Mark 8:22–26 KJV 1900
And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Give Subject: The Adjacent Possible


In 2002, Medical Doctor and Biological Research, Dr. Stuart Kauffman, theorized a new concept in biological research and evolution.
Dr. Kauffman started his career doing his internship and residency for his MD.
His research included analyzing the developmental and genetic characteristics of the Fruitfly.
Gradually, his research expanded and grew to the point where he returned to school to study theoretical Biology.
He has spent the last 40 years studying and inventing new concepts in Biology… one of which was the theory of the Adjacent Possible.
The Adjacent Possible is defined, according to Dr. Kauffman, as a kind of shadow future that hovers on the edges of both the present state of things and the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.
The Adjacent Possible is based on the idea that biological elements, including animals and cellular organisms evolve based on that which is most possible rather than to continue towards the expected evolutionary step/ or process.
The theory of the Adjacent Possible seeks to counterbalance the following two problems with new discovery or the lack thereof.
In a world where we constantly pursue all that is possible, we never allow ourselves to truly grow because the realm of total possibility is too broad for true success.
However, if we allow ourselves to be totally contained only within the realm of known possibilities then we can never become what we are intended because we remain confined to the boundaries of what we currently know.
One example of the adjacent possible can be found in nature everywhere you look.
Birds did not evolve to have feathers instantly, but instead evolved to have full body hair follicles that produced keratin rather than simply hair follicles.
However, these follicles eventually came to sprout feathers which were used to warm the body, camouflage the bird, and support flight.
But it is important to remember that none of these evolution would have been possible were it not for the original evolution.
Put another way, the theory of the Adjacent Possible seeks to establish that many of us seek to look at various evolutionary processes as one step but their are often intermediary steps necessary to fulfill your goals/ or objectives that we can refer to as the Adjacent Possible.
One way for me to explain the adjacent possible is that if you were to look at your own home.
When you go to your home, you may want to go into your bedroom but in order to get into that room, you first have to get into your house.
You are trying to reach your bedroom, where you have the possibility of getting in your bed to get some sleep… But to reach that possibility, you have to take the intermediate step of getting through your front door.
The front door represent the adjacent possible because it is adjacent to your ultimate objective of getting in bed.
You may be hungry…
You need to eat… but no matter what you decide to eat.

Mark 8:22-26

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