self organizing systems

9

Cristoforo Sergio Bertuglia and Franco Vaio, What is complexity?, in Nonlinearity, Chaos, and Complexity. The Dynamics of Natural and Social Systems, Chapter 28, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005, pp. 275-290  

xpmods  asked:

One of our players wants resources on writing a hivemind (specifically the Stepford Cuckoos/Five-In-One). Do you have anything on that? (Awesome blog btw - so helpful!)

Thank you so much @xpmods:)

Okay, so I had to look up the Stepford Cuckoos/Five-In-One (because I’m a loser and I’m not into superheroes), and I apologize if anything I say contradicts the Stepford Cuckoos’ abilities/powers. I’m not sure how to write for them specifically, but I do have some tips on writing a hive mind in general.

TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE A HIVE MIND

1. UNDERSTAND THE DEFINITION OF A HIVE MIND

Also know that there are different kinds of hive minds (Examples taken from Wikipedia)

1. Collective consciousness or collective intelligence, concepts in sociology and philosophy

2.Groupthink, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome

3. The apparent consciousness of colonies of social insects such as ants, bees, and termites

4.Swarm intelligence, the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial

5.Universal mind, a type of universal higher consciousness or source of being in some esoteric beliefs

6. Group mind (science fiction), a type of collective consciousness

7. Egregore, a phenomenon in occultism which has been described as group mind

The kind we think about most is probably collective consciousness and the hive mind that is associated with insects.

So basically it means that everybody is connected to everybody. There are no secrets. There is no individuality. Just one huge ball of shared information that is constantly being added to the more the individuals included within the hive mind experience different situations.

In the writing world, however, there are no set parameters. You can take this information and go wherever you want with it. You’re a writer, after all, and that’s what you do! You aren’t obligated to follow the exact definition.

4. STUDY ANIMALS THAT FUNCTION USING A HIVE MIND

You don’t actually have to go outside and study them; I mean research their behaviors as well as drawbacks that they sometimes experience.

For example, ants are followers. They leave scent trails so that other ants know where they have been, and many ants follow the ones in front of them without any way to control themselves; they simply can’t help but follow the ants in front of them. (This explains why you always see groups of ants moving in single file lines)

“Most ants navigate by using eyesight, but some army ants are completely blind – and it’s possible for them to become disorientated and march in circles until they die of exhaustion.

It’s known as an ‘ant mill’ and is one of the strangest sights in nature.

Army ants navigate by following pheromone trails left behind by others. However, should enough of them lose the scent they begin to follow the ant immediately in front and a huge ant spiral forms.” Source [x]

Basically, the ant in the front of the line turns, and sometimes the line is so long that the ant in the front collides with other ants in the line. Naturally, the ant begins to follow. The ants are now caught in a vicious circle where everyone is following the person in front of them. And, as the article states, they eventually die of exhaustion.

This is only one of the drawbacks, and this only pertains to ants.

This whole section basically is saying DO YOUR RESEARCH!!

3. KNOW THE COMMON TROPES ASSOCIATED WITH HIVE MINDS AND DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT YOU WANT TO AVOID THEM

Common tropes associated with a hive mind/creatures who are a part of a hive mind:

- Individuals are never found alone, always in groups

- Individuals talk at the same time, in the same monotone voice

- Individuals walk in time with each other

-The hive mind is always controlled by a single ruler, usually a Queen

- Individuals work together incredibly well and are nearly unstoppable

These tropes aren’t at all overused or stupid; there are simply too little well-known stories containing hive minds for it to become too cliche.

My advice is to use these tropes however you’d like, but still add your own little twist on it.

After all, the twists are what make your story unique!


Hope this helped!

If biologists have ignored self-organization, it is not because self-ordering is not pervasive and profound. It is because we biologists have yet to understand how to think about systems governed simultaneously by two sources of order, Yet who seeing the snowflake, who seeing simple lipid molecules cast adrift in water forming themselves into cell-like hollow lipid vesicles, who seeing the potential for the crystallization of life in swarms of reacting molecules, who seeing the stunning order for free in networks linking tens upon tens of thousands of variables, can fail to entertain a central thought: if ever we are to attain a final theory in biology, we will surely, surely have to understand the commingling of self-organization and selection. We will have to see that we are the natural expressions of a deeper order. Ultimately, we will discover in our creation myth that we are expected after all.
—  Stuart A. Kauffman
Autonomy and Anarchism

      For those of you who enjoy the theory and praxis of language, here is why I like the word autonomy in addition to anarchism:

 Anarchism / anarchy is a purely negative formulation: without rulers.

Autonomism / autonomy is a positive formulation: self order / self organization.

      Of course these words like all words are not primarily defined by their roots (in this case Greek), but by their histories and by people’s usage and understanding.  But I like autonomy / autonomism because it gives a positive sense of what I advocate within the word itself.  This is the same reason I usually like to include “communism” with autonomism or anarchism, as in “autonomist-communism”: to make as clear as possible that I’m advocating for a free, self-organized system of equal collective access to power and resources.  I also think that a proliferation of names for our revolutionary projects (and an actual diversity of revolutionary projects) is good, and that we should use whatever names suit us best in any time and place, just as the Zapatistas or the revolutionary Kurdish people have words and ideas that work for their specific contexts.  Names are ultimately much less important than building actual projects of collective power, emancipation and mutual aid in the spaces where we work and live, with the people who share these spaces with us, and aiding others in these efforts.  However, naming an idea with tact and accuracy can give that idea a greater power.

Exotropy is neither wave nor particle, nor pure energy, nor supernatural miracle. It is an immaterial flow that is very much like information. Since extoropy is defined as negative entropy—the reversal of disorder—it is, by definition, an increase in order. But what is order? For simple physical systems, the concepts of thermodynamics suffice, but for the real world of cucumbers, brains, books, and self-driving trucks, we don’t have useful metrics for exotropy. The best we can say is that exotropy resembles, but is not equivalent to, information and that it entails self-organization.
—  Kevin Kelly
10

Why do I… know?

Why do I know… these things?

  999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is the first volume of the Zero Escape series developed by Chunsoft and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi. The main theme of 999 deals with the obscure fields of thought and matter that connect us to each other and our world. That description is a little long-winded and vague, so I’ll go through some examples of how the game develops these ideas.

  First and foremost, I’ll discuss the Morphic Resonance theory developed by biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake. As defined by Sheldrake himself, morphic resonance is the “process whereby self-organizing systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems.” This is to say that individuals can acquire information from similar entities, usually through telepathy-type connections called Morphic Fields. In 999, morphic resonance plays a huge role within the story. It is in fact the core of a certain plot twist that Kotaro Uchikoshi wrote the entire game around. I won’t spoil that twist here, but I will give another in-game example of morphic resonance to illustrate its importance. While trying to escape from a room, your group comes across a picture of what seems to be nothing more than a collection of blotches. Further examination then reveals that it is actually a distorted picture of a dog. Upon noticing this, another character recalls reading an article about this picture being used in an study conducted by the BBC. The dog image was one of two used in the experiment, with the other being a distorted image of a woman. These images were shown to a group of test subjects who were simply asked “what is it you see?” Naturally, because the images were difficult to make out, only about 10% of people saw the woman and about 4% saw the dog. Later, the solution to the dog image was broadcasted over the BBC network to millions of viewers, but the solution to the woman image was not. Now here’s the interesting part: The same survey was then given to an audience of Americans, all of which had never seen either image nor had watched the BBC broadcast. Like before, about 10% of people were able to see the woman, which isn’t surprising. However, the amount of people who saw the dog in the other image shot up to 8%, a vast improvement. Again, the woman image did not have its solution shown to millions of people, but the image of the dog did. So what does this mean? Why did more people see the dog in the distorted image after its solution was show to a different group of people? It’s almost as if because the solution was known by more people, that information was then transmitted to others across some unknown field. It’s an interesting theory to think about, especially considering the experiment actually happened.

  Another type of field described in 999 deals with the matter of our world. During the story a character is reminded of the thought experiment called Locke’s Sock. It goes like this: What if one day your favorite sock developed a hole? You loved the sock too much to throw it away, so you decided to patch it. A few months later another hole appears and, like before, you patched it immediately. Now let’s say many years have passed and the sock kept developing holes that you kept patching. This goes on until the original fabric has been completely replaced. Is this the same sock you loved before? The thought experiment is meant to ask the question of when does something change to the point that it is no longer its original self. Now let’s consider the human body. Every year, 98% percent of our body’s cells are replaced. These cells are produced from the food and liquid we consume, all of which come from either the earth or other living organisms. So when is it that the fish we eat becomes part of our arm? When does the soil become the fish? In this sense, each one of us is in some way made up of everything around us, a type of field that links us together if you will.

  These two ideas are just some of the examples 999 gives us to develop the idea that there is more connecting us in this world than what we can normally see. Along with a great cast and gripping story, 999 is a unique gem that opens your eyes in more ways than one.

If biologists have ignored self-organization, it is not because self-ordering is not pervasive and profound. It is because we biologists have yet to understand how to think about systems governed simultaneously by two sources of order, Yet who seeing the snowflake, who seeing simple lipid molecules cast adrift in water forming themselves into cell-like hollow lipid vesicles, who seeing the potential for the crystallization of life in swarms of reacting molecules, who seeing the stunning order for free in networks linking tens upon tens of thousands of variables, can fail to entertain a central thought: if ever we are to attain a final theory in biology, we will surely, surely have to understand the commingling of self-organization and selection. We will have to see that we are the natural expressions of a deeper order. Ultimately, we will discover in our creation myth that we are expected after all.
—  Stuart Kauffman
5

Patterns in Nature:: Spirals 

Spirals are common in plants and in some animals, notably molluscs.  Plant spirals can be seen in phyllotaxis, the arrangement of leaves on a stem, and in the arrangement (parastichy) of other parts as in composite flower heads and seed heads like the sunflower or fruit structures like the pineapple. These arrangements have explanations at different levels – mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology – each individually correct, but all necessary together.   Phyllotaxis spirals can be generated mathematically from Fibonacci ratios: the Fibonacci sequence runs 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13… (each subsequent number being the sum of the two preceding ones). Fibonacci ratios approximate the golden angle, 137.508°, which governs the curvature of Fermat’s spiral. 

From the point of view of physics, spirals are lowest-energy configurations which emerge spontaneously through self-organizing processes in dynamic systems. From the point of view of chemistry, a spiral can be generated by a reaction-diffusion process, involving both activation and inhibition. From a biological perspective, arranging leaves as far apart as possible in any given space is favored by natural selection as it maximizes access to resources, especially sunlight for photosynthesis. 

Via Wikipedia - photos CC by 3.0

Order out of Chaos. Acrylic paint; “409” technique; spray paint; enamel pen work; acrylic finish, on Strathmore illustration board.

Nobel laureate, Ilya Prigogine and associates have shown that a large number of interacting elements, a wide range of interactions, and nonlinearities in interactions are important determining variables in self-organization. In such systems, disordered behavior, instability or chaos may precipitate reorganization: (re-)order through chaos.

“One must still have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star”. Nietzche.

“ Sometimes we are able to transcend innocence-and-experience and achieve renewed innocence …the power of creative spontaneity develops into an explosion that liberates us from outmoded frames of reference and from memory that is clogged with old facts and old feelings ”.
Stephen Nachmanovitch. Free play: Improvisation in Life and Art.