Most Powerful Drive in the Universe: Sync!

5 02 2009

Have you seen the TED video of mathematician Steven Strogatz describing how complex, perfect patterns can be created by individuals moving in unchoreographed, spontaneous synchronicity?


As I watched the video, I was reminded of network theory discussions we’ve had at NHEN and across our blogs, about human hubs and nodes communicating without hierarchy or leader or rules as freely synching-up individuals in education advocacy, for homeschool support and other parent involvement projects.

Imagine if School started to support spontaneous sync as “socialization” rather than compulsion, standardization, rewards-and-punishment accountability! OTOH, maybe school peer pressure (good and bad) is a natural manifestation of these sync rules too, hmmm. . .

Spontaneous sync

1. All individuals are only aware of their nearest neighbors

2. All individuals have a tendency to line up

3. All individuals are attracted to each other but do like a small separation or distance

And there’s a fourth rule that makes spontaneous sync work in swarms, that kicks in when a predator appears: get out of the way!

If you watch to the end, you’ll find out that you don’t even need a brain or to be animate, to participate in the spontaneous synchronicity of nature . . . so you’d think we humans could manage it a bit better than we do, right? 😉