E. O. Wilson and Spontaneous order

Jump right to the 17:28 mark if you don’t care to spend some quality time with a delightful old man.


“We share with insects the mysterious instinct to build complex societies… [talks about an ant colony filled with concrete then dug out of the earth…] Here was a labyrinthine web of underground highways, mini-colonies, gardens, and garbage dumps. But it was the scale of it that was breathtaking. This was an ant metropolis, a Manhattan of the insect world.

“Now, how could an animal with a brain smaller than a pinhead possibly construct and maintain a city of this size and complexity?”

Because spontaneous order! This view is why Don Lavoie cites E.O. Wilson so much. Both are fascinated (as we all should be) with systems where the interaction of its constituent parts yields outcomes more complex than any subset of those constituent parts could come up with. These complex outcomes result from relatively simple information transmission mechanisms so that behaviors of each part influence and are influenced by the rest of the system.

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