Resilience, as a framework informing governance, relies on an ontology of emergent complexity. This article analyses how complexity operates not only as a critique of liberal modes of ‘top-down’ governing but also to inform and instantiate resilience as a postmodern form of governance. In so doing, resilience approaches develop upon and transform neoliberal conceptions of complex life as a limit to liberal governance and directly critique the policy frameworks of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’, which seeks to govern complexity ‘from below’. While actually existing neoliberalism focuses governmental regimes on the ‘knowledge gaps’ seen as the preconditions for successful policy outcomes, resilience asserts a flatter ontology of interactive emergence where the knowledge which needs to be acquired can only be gained through self-reflexive approaches. This distinction will be illustrated by drawing upon recent UK government policy practices and debates.