Monday, July 13, 2009

Brain is Self-Organized Critical

Not that I'm surprised . . . but we now have actual evidence that the brain works on the edge of chaos, known as self-organized criticality. A healthy cell is in this realm. A healthy organism is in this realm. A healthy brain is in this realm. So is, I suspect, a healthy ecosystem, culture, society, and economy. If this is true, then the best we can say about interventions into the economy is that the results will be completely unpredictable. If a politician or economist says that this or that law will have a certain effect, they are either delusional, at best, or liars, at worst. Attempts to order it are attempts to get it away from this delicate state on the edge of order and chaos where creativity occurs. Interventions thus either kill an economy by throwing it into true chaos, eliminate creativity by crystalizing it, or throw the system into wild fluctuations, boom-bust cycles.

But, to get back to the brain . . . what this says about creativity is that it truly is random. One just has to be prepared to catch what comes when it does. That's the difference between everyone else and the artistic genius -- the latter is always prepared to catch what comes to mind.

Looks like creativity in a brain and creativity in an economy are the same thing.

Consider, for example, the following quote: "It might seem precarious to have a brain that plunges randomly into periods of instability, but the disorder is actually essential to the brain's ability to transmit information and solve problems." Now consider this rewrite: "It might seem precarious to have an economy that plunges randomly into periods of instability, but the disorder is actually essential to the economy's ability to transmit information and solve problems." In fact, one could rewrite the entire article, replacing "brain" with "economy", and you would almost have a perfect description of a healthy economy.
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