Introduction to Emergence

Introduction to Emergence

January has roared into Peel Region, cold and snowy with bitter winds, bringing a desire to hibernate and hide, not consider the theme of emergence!  What does it mean to be people of emergence?  How is that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts? How do we help or hinder the act of emergence in our own lives or as a community?

In science, emergence can be understood as the ability of individual components of a large system to work together to give rise to dramatic and diverse behaviour. The richness of the world around us emerges from the complex behaviour of many interacting components. As elegantly stated by the German scientist and engineer Jochen Fromm:

one water molecule is not fluid
one gold atom is not metallic
one neuron is not conscious
one amino acid is not alive

I find this fascinating, how the small and simple creates complexity of a different level.

In social systems, emergence is understood as a new order arising out of a chaotic situation, as multiple unrelated changes coalesce together, again becoming more than what came before.

This month as we explore the many understandings of emergence, let us consider what might be emerging in our own lives.




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