Does Emmanuel Macron (finally) acknowledge the real “complexity” during his second term?

At the beginning of his first term, President Emmanuel Macron broke the tradition of July 14 interviews. The explanation given by the Champs Elysees at the time was that “the president’s complex views are not suitable for this.” It is an exercise to just talk to the media – and therefore to the French, because the interview has a public vocation.

At the beginning of his second term, the re-elected president confirms that the result of the presidential election, in which the candidate from the National Rally received 42% of the vote and abstained at the highest level in 50 years, “forces” him. This obliges him on the basis of “respect for the differences that have been expressed in recent weeks.” Against the background of “silence” of those who “did not want to choose.” On the merits of those who “voted for Madame Le Pen.” In this regard, Macron clarified that “the anger and disagreement of those who voted for this project (for the National Rally) must also find an answer.” Emmanuel Macron certainly wants to “work for this unity that makes us happier in France.”

The tone here is completely different than in June-July 2017. According to our president, he has now decided to consider those who did not trust him. Therefore, if the next five-year term is called “the collective invention of an updated method … in the service of our country, our youth”, which voted for him a little, but in the middle of which he showed only after his victory it should happen to those who does not recognize himself in his project or his policy.

If you believe the president’s word, the contradiction is that he intends to rule “all the same” with the political opposition. If the previous five-year term had sometimes shown that the government was not for all the French, but only for the rich, we would no longer be that continuity. Vice versa. If what the new President of the Republic says here is true, then we are starting better than in 2017 in terms of “integrated thinking”. Not only for methodological reasons, but also for significant reasons.

Listening skills

We live in an unquestionably complex world, which has always been this: the concept of complexity refers, at least indirectly, to human life, which is invariably a collective, “political” life.

As the ancients said, we are “political animals”. The complex world consists of uncertainty – we do not know in advance what will happen to the future, which can always be made of the worst, but also the best. And it largely depends on us.

The complex world is contradictory: for harmonious development it is necessary to listen to contradictions, without trying to reduce them automatically. The complex world consists of several layers, some of which are still invisible, but already quite real, like the season being prepared “under” the previous one. And this is signaled only by weak signals, which are probably perceived by anyone.

Weak skills, proven experience allow to identify weak signals. But the fundamental ability to listen to the world, yourself and others.

However, the complexity is frightening. This worries with its contradictions. It takes patience and a fresh look to recognize weak signals. However, what we perceive from day to day in our lives, we have a significant need for simplicity. We could not live without simplicity. A simple world would simply be the complete opposite of a complex world. The world we control is a whole world, immediately visible or transparent. And where our skills are directly and obviously applicable.

At the same time, our need for simplicity is unbridled, vital, legitimate, and fundamentally vulnerable to its redundancy, which is simplification. Simplification is the assumption that the world can only be simple. So that we can eradicate its complexity. The dream of eradicating complexity from the world requires “solutions” for complexity that want to act as if it does not exist. This is the reassuring side of any leader when he or she claims to have solutions that will get us out of the crisis.

Obviously, it’s dreamy. But sleep becomes harmful, even dangerous, when it is accompanied by the identification of those “through whom” the world is complex. From finding goats to letting go of our expectations and our anxieties.

However, our need for simplicity does not have a monopoly on vulnerability to overflow. By insisting too much on the complexities of the world, losing sight of the needs of those who suffer in a world to which they have no keys, we can enjoy it by noticing it or not. And then you lose sight of the real complexity. The real complexity stems from the fact that the world consists of both complexity and our fundamental human need for simplicity. This is a real challenge. And that requires real listening.

Jupiter drifts

The main reason why, if our re-elected president is telling the truth, the policy of the next five-year term gives us hope is that Emmanuel Macron says that by claiming to give full place to those who do not trust him, he listens carefully to the need for simplicity expressed during the presidential election and will pursue a policy of change required by the complexity of the world in which we live.

During his first term as president of Jupiterianism, Emmanuel Macron took on the role of leader responsible for the peace and security of the city – one who not only brings solutions to the world’s complex problems. , but it embodies these decisions. This was problematic, reducing the complexity, wanting to be the only solution.

On the contrary, the desire to “collectively invent an updated method” now looks much more modest. Humble in the face of the objective difficulties of any exercise of power. Humble in the face of crises that are imposed one after another. Modest in the face of the uncertainty fueled by the previous five-year term, which culminated in the presidential election we are just emerging from. The incumbent president, beginning his new term, says he is determined to listen to what is happening in the shadows.

Listen to those who are afraid, those who are evil, those who suffer from a world in which they do not recognize themselves. However, President Macron also represents, if not more, the world of economics and finance, the world of the poor who care about the fate of the poor. Brilliant world of those who hold the levers of power.

It is significant that when someone is admired, they say that he or she is “brilliant” or brilliant. Such a compliment, which often wants to be a very big compliment, is actually fundamentally ambiguous. Because the risk of any “genius” person is not to listen. Lack of ability to listen to others, the world, even yourself. To do nothing more than “shine”. And when we just shine, then we become dangerous, because we see nothing more. We no longer see others, we no longer see the world. We only see what we project into the world. Because, as Leonardo da Vinci said, “the sun never sees shadows.”

It is to be hoped that the Jupiter leader, who wanted to be the incumbent president, will indeed make room for the sun, which can dim its “shine” so that, as he says, he wants to reconcile himself with those in the shadows. . This is important for the future of our country and its people. When he was still Minister of Economy and Finance during the presidency of Francois Hollande, Emmanuel Macron identified three very French vices: distrust, complexity (at the time – administrations) and corporatism. Now that the cards have been shuffled, let’s bet with the new president on trust, simplification and openness to those who are different from us.


For Laurent BibarProfessor of Management, Head of the Department of Complexity Edgar Morin ESSEC

The original version of this article was published on The Conversation.