While mechanistic thinking tend towards analytic/reductionism, ecological thinking is much more wholistic in nature. So, as someone with a tendency to analyze, I am an odd ecological thinker and educator. Fortunately for me (and I think, for all of our meaning making enterprises), ecological thinking does not exclude simplifying situations by separating systems into component parts and isolating them from their contexts and connections. It simply suggests that it is always important, even when analyzing, to remain aware of complexity, context, connections and cooperation.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about adding a fifth “C” to my favorite alliterative quartet: curiosity. While the first of my four Cs seem concerned with what we look for in the world, I see this this new fourth more like an attitude. Curiosity implies a certain comfort with chaos and confusion even as we seek to understand. As opposed to attempting to prove the truth, wholists seeks to construct a glimmer of understanding while accepting that the best we can do is make meaning and sense that, at its best, will be useful but will never directly correspond to the complexity of that which we are trying to understand.