Thursday, May 05, 2011


Self-organizing networks -- aka, spontaneous orders -- describes a wide number of social orders, including economies, the arts, and science. MIchael Polanyi wrote some of the earliest work on science as a spontaneous order, and this work has been developed and expanded on by Bill Butos and Thomas McQuade. And now some recent work shows that science is a self-organizing critical system, meaning it undergoes phase transitions -- which are also known as paradigm shifts. These insights apply equally to other spontaneous orders, like economies and the arts. We see sudden shifts in style in the arts, and we see sudden shifts in economic organization as well. The latter are typically punctuated by recessions (heaven forbid if such coincide with the conditions described by Austrian Business Cycle Theory, as that is when we get things like the Great Depression, and perhaps the Great Recession as well).

For the individual, though, who wants to be important, there are also lessons here. One way is, you need to gain attention if you want to succeed. The second way is, you need to do something important, which brings you back to one. Of course, as many of the celebrities who are famous for being famous know, you don't have to have done two to accomplish one.
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