To Understand Is To Perceive Patterns


Albert-László Barabási, author of LINKED, wants you to think about NETWORKS:

“Networks are everywhere. The brain is a network of nerve cells connected by axons, and cells themselves are networks of molecules connected by biochemical reactions. Societies, too, are networks of people linked by friendships, familial relationships and professional ties. On a larger scale, food webs and ecosystems can be represented as networks of species. And networks pervade technology: the Internet, power grids and transportation systems are but a few examples. Even the language we are using to convey these thoughts to you is a network, made up of words connected by syntactic relationships.”

‘For decades, we assumed that the components of such complex systems as the cell, the society, or the Internet are randomly wired together. In the past decade, an avalanche of research has shown that many real networks, independent of their age, function, and scope, converge to similar architectures, a universality that allowed researchers from different disciplines to embrace network theory as a common paradigm.’

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, writes about recurring patterns and liquid networks:

“Coral reefs are sometimes called “the cities of the sea”, and part of the argument is that we need to take the metaphor seriously: the reef ecosystem is so innovative because it shares some defining characteristics with actual cities. These patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you’re looking at original innovations of carbon-based life, or the explosion of news tools on the web, the same shapes keep turning up… when life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents”

Patrick Pittman from Dumbo Feather adds:

“Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected.

“…Johnson uses ‘The Long Zoom’ to define the way he looks at the world—if you concentrate on any one level, there are patterns that you miss. When you step back and simultaneously consider, say, the sentience of a slime mold, the cultural life of downtown Manhattan and the behavior of artificially intelligent computer code, new patterns emerge.”

James Gleick, author of THE INFORMATION, has written how the cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding and how Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.. (Its an ECO-SYSTEM, an EVOLVING NETWORK)

“If you want to understand life,” Wrote Richard Dawkins, “don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.” (AND THINK ABOUT NETWORKS!!

Geoffrey West, from The Santa Fe Institute, also believes in the pivotal role of NETWORKS:

“…Network systems can sustain life at all scales, whether intracellularly or within you and me or in ecosystems or within a city…. If you have a million citizens in a city or if you have 1014 cells in your body, they have to be networked together in some optimal way for that system to function, to adapt, to grow, to mitigate, and to be long term resilient.”

Author Paul Stammetts writes about The Mycelial Archetype: He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure.

An article in Reality Sandwich called Google a psychedelically informed superpowered network, a manifestation of the mycelial archetype:

“Recognizing this super-connectivity and conductivity is often accompanied by blissful mindbody states and the cognitive ecstasy of multiple “aha’s!” when the patterns in the mycelium are revealed. That Googling that has become a prime noetic technology (How can we recognize a pattern and connect more and more, faster and faster?: superconnectivity and superconductivity) mirrors the increased speed of connection of thought-forms from cannabis highs on up. The whole process is driven by desire not only for these blissful states in and of themselves, but also as the cognitive resource they represent.The devices of desire are those that connect,” because as Johnson says “CHANCE FAVORS THE CONNECTED MIND”.


Out with the Old, In with the New Culture

Evolution is a process of creating patterns of increasing order….I believe that it’s the evolution of patterns that constitutes the ultimate story of our world. Evolution works through indirection: each stage or epoch uses the information-processing methods of the previous epoch to create the next.”

Planet 8000 background by Courtney RhodesMuch like the hippies, the hepcats, the mods, hipsters, flappers, etc., the culture of the constitution and the work ethic, of the social etiquette and clearly defined boundaries, the impunity of bloated, over-regulated bureaucracy and the absence of accountability are on its way out.

Web 2.0 Digitage 2012 by Maureen Flynn-BurhoeWelcome to the electronic culture.

Science fiction writers forewarned of this inevitability for years. Although, we cowered and enjoyed the show heed was not paid. Now, the ideology that one must work hard at one’s career in order to reap the most benefit from the American Dream no longer applies.

The incoming culture does not seem to want the promising career, as they understand that the dream has popped. Go to school, graduate with your [enclosed] classroom mates in a building on a stage; go to college, work for more money to afford necessities, graduate in an old-fashioned building in uniformity and lockstep. Then get a job, pay your student loans, work until retirement, pay your taxes to The Man, pay into social security, get a mortgage and a family, start accumulating debt, do this for 30-40 years and retire. . . broke and sick. This is not an American dream it is a nightmare.

Euphoria by HartwigHKDThe incoming culture seems to embrace a familiar, yet, new and improved for the 21st century paradigm as well as advocating a simpler, less regulated lifestyle. Social morality and responsibility that seems to have been inspired by Kohlberg’s scale of moral development, post-conventional level has replaced conventional social roles, norms and mores of daily behavior.

Economically in the upcoming culture, quality is far more valuable than quantity. Quantity is synonymous with junk, but junk that can be cheaply modified into a quality product. Shopping for quality, the most return (worth) on a single item, or purchasing in bulk to save money seems to be favored over mass-produced products planned for obsolescence. As shopping malls along with other box stores close, much more informed shopping waits in the wake. Now, a desired item can be price-compared across the planet with an easy Google search. The best quality items can be bought to exact and personal specifications for a small price; even a car, land and home can be purchased this way. Much more productive and constructive actions can be performed online at home, than can be accomplished by, at or in many obsolete jobs of the outgoing culture.

Eole Airlines by Eole WindThrift shops offer many name brand fashions at 70%, 80%, 90% off the regular price, leading to the understanding that you can look sharp at pauper’s prices. Eating healthy: the adage You Are What You Eat seems to have gripped the public imagination (or at least the media’s).

Further, the incoming culture seems much more informed than the outgoing culture. As the incoming culture becomes more wise to the wiles of social engineering—as that culture having grown up on the internet uses social engineering for practical jokes and pranks—media like FoxNews ceases to be the sole source (or even preferred source) of current events around the world. The internet serves as a much more organic and dynamic source of current events, like the rise of Twitter as a relevant and reliable news source. The heroes of the incoming culture do not include the founding fathers, but such instantly recognizable figures as Bill Nye, MythBusters, Carl Sagan, Charlie Bukowski, Bill Murray, zombie apocalypse, and the unending fleet of viral memes like Antoine and, recently, Homeless Kai.

From another dimension by HartwigHKDGod and organized religion have been fired as even FoxNews shows the glaring hypocrisy contained therein. Now, genuine and sincere acceptance (rather than tolerance) for anyone to be who they want to be as long as no harm becomes another is the mantra of fellow humans (see the new niche, Random Acts of Kindness). Religion (and to some degree science—see noetic sciences) has evolved to interdisciplinary perspectives that combines science, the esoteric and occult, and the mystical.

Sex is great and awesome as much as possible with consenting parties, free love 3.0. The incoming culture knows much more about the political arena (and not what comes sold on TV, or hired out to speechwriters and/or lobbyists). The incoming culture knows the political game and are not only playing it when the need presents Dematerialization by HartwigHKD itself (i.e., when one of the outgoing culture exits stage left), but are satirizing, criticizing, scrutinizing, and parodying the game. They know and understand the lingo and jargon and they have hawk eyes that see through the drivel. Creativity abounds and is nourished (oddities are accepted and oftentimes poached by corporations).

The status quo of the outgoing culture has ended, supplanted by the incoming culture and their more eastern-influenced and indigenous ideals. The new maxim might become “Come One Come All, Just Don’t Be A Douchebag”.

“Each epoch continues the evolution of information through a paradigm shift to a further level of ‘indirection.’ (That is, evolution uses the results of one epoch to create the next.)”

TL;DR by Skinned Mink

Image Credits (all used with permission through CC license)–
(in order of appearance)
“Planet 8000 background” by Courtney Rhodes
“Web 2.0 Digitage 2012” by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe
“Euphoria” by HartwigHKD
“Eole Airlines” by Eole Wind
“From another dimension” & “Dematerialization” by HartwigHKD
“TL;DR” by Skinned Mink

*Quotes by Ray Kurzweil