emergence

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Science, Religion

by me on 20.04.2008 - 15:22  

I've been thinking about emergence intelligence lately. Emergence intelligence is basically the idea of the whole is larger than the sum of its parts. For example, looking at the way an ant colony works, or how birds fly in flocks or birds swim in schools. There are no leaders in these groups, and individuals aren't particularly smart, and yet somehow the group solves complex problems and seems more intelligent than one would expect looking at the individuals. Other people have already compared this behavior to the cells in our brain. There is no one brain cell where we do our thinking or that is controlling the rest of the cells. Somehow, we think using all of our brain cells working together, although individual cells seem to have little intelligence. Recently I've been thinking about applying this idea to entire species, or the earth in its entirety. What if we are also all part of a greater intelligence. We don't realize it, in much the same way our brain cells don't know that they are part of a more intelligent being. Or think about the ant. The ant is just following signals, and although it may realize it is in a colony with other ants, it doesn't really realize that the problems that the colony as a whole are solving are much more complex then those that that ant could solve on its own. It is busy solving its own individual problems, and somehow by doing that is working with other ants to solve much greater problems. I believe we are all part of a greater intelligence, and are collectively solving problems that we are only vaguely aware of, if at all. We are all intricately connected in ways we don't really understand. When I think of god, this is what I think of. We are all part of an intelligence that is taking care of us, but there is no individual guiding anything. We are all part of it, but none of us is particularly important. There is no single guiding individual. Which is a humbling thought.


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20.06.2008 - 13:52  

Winkest Leak comments:

hmmm. i think it's the opposite for ants. i think they're only "problem" is keeping the group alive. similar to bees, no individual goes off collecting and then hoarding what they collect for their own use. it's all returned to the "whole".

i do agree fully with you about humans, and/or "god". like some native peoples used to think, "god" is the entire group, each person responsible for keeping the group alive, successful. unfortunately, we're trained to be individuals, self-serving, only caring about reaching the maximum value for us personally, not caring about the "whole" well-being. hooray for capitalism!

24.06.2008 - 00:32  

maria comments:

It is pretty interesting to think about, since we don't really know what they are thinking about. Or for that matter, what thinking even entails if you are an ant. I mean it is true they aren't going off and hoarding what they find for their own use, but are they really thinking, "I am going to bring this back because it is best thing I can do for the group and that is more important than my personal survival"? Or is it more like, I want to bring back this cool thing I found and show it to the others. Do they really understand that they are part of a bigger picture or are they just doing what their instincts tell them to do?

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