We recently had the privilege to talk with physicist, complexity scientist, and MIT professor, Cesar Hidalgo, on our podcast. Hidalgo is also the author of Why Information Grows, The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies, a wonderfully insightful book which explores “what information is, where it comes from, and why it grows”…
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So, if connection strengthens social networks, why do we constantly resort to rejection or isolation as a way to “resolve” social issues?
When using this tactic, we create a cycle of deflection, where the person or ‘problem’ is consistently pushed out of one system and into another. But, this mindset which is geared toward eliminating the problem, is in itself, a problem.
The power and strength of human networks becomes very apparent when you take a closer look at FCAA, as a case study, for despite experiencing financial set-backs and having a very limited organizational structure; their network grows larger and stronger each year.
In the episode, “Exploring Complex Human Networks”, Stacy describes FCAA as an “emergent social network powered by shared narratives and shared values”. And, we believe it is the collection of member's stories, along with their shared values, which has propelled FCAA network growth.
We can look to other living networks or systems, like photosynthesis, as examples for efficient and resilient ways to in which we can cooperate.
But first, we must recognize that only once we shift our perspective and see the world as a web of complex networks and self-organizing systems, can we transform and evolve away from the limiting, isolating, and competitive social structures that control our societies.
Alan Watts said, “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”
But does permanence dictate that a thing be unchanging in essence? Matter persists through different states, and in its mutability and diversity it defies oblivion. Death destroys a star and creates a galaxy. Permanence does not mean without change. Change is a force of nature that creates diversity through interrelationship. Without diversity, a system destroys itself and new forms fill its space.
While human beings may disagree on the efficacy of pursuing permanence, resilience is another matter--or at least, another state....
The universe abhors too much sameness. When you sense that parts of you or your efforts are stagnant, or, not synthesizing new experiences into your character or your work, do you notice those subtle feelings of self-loathing? It happens the same way in any network: a culture, a household, a team, a country. Individuals turn against their own identity structures. Cancers form. Relationships become a battle of projections. Societies polarize. Either way the eventual result is change.
Proximity creates pressure. So when the pathways of a network are limited, pressure builds up and diversity, essential for a complex system's survival, disappears. Movement is limited. Tension increases....