Emergence through energy?


Chaos can be such an incredibly ordered state of things. These days, on the professional front, I am running from a workshop in Benin to a working group meeting for the project ‘IKM Emergent’ (http://ikmemergent.wordpress.com), from the organisation of a symposium on sector learning in the WASH sector to initial discussions around an IRC internal working group on innovative communication. And professionally, running from a stag night (and mine at that!) in Amsterdam to a catch up in London with a friend I met recently, punctuated by discussions for the wedding preparation with my ‘better half’ and good times with friends…

An incredible mix of emotions and of reflections. And the more mixed, the more related it seems… of the obscure workings of chaos. A sense of connectedness to this world and a sense of realising the unity of all my interactions with other human beings, of my emotions with theirs, and of interactions of each other’s thoughts…

What is it about chaos, complexity, patterns, emergence that make it sound so real while we are still at a stage of poorly characterising it, let alone making deep sense of it? I believe it is that deep feeling of whole interconnectedness that really gives weight to chaos theory and to emergent issues. Feeling that all small talks and actions, larger initiatives and projects, philosophy of life and epistemological framework actually reverberate the same patterns… the fractal of my life HERE and NOW.

A Persian rug (courtesy of VISTA on FlickR), perhaps one of the oldest forms of fractals

Connecting energies and emerging together

Connecting energies and emerging together

In all these activities, I have also come to think that the liquid or flow that perhaps provokes transition phases (a physical term which, applied to development work would mean that it instigates social change) is the energy that one absorbs  from others and reverberates back to them.

In sharing knowledge, emotions, thoughts, we seem to all connect to the same grid and let a kind of human electricity pass on through the grid. Perhaps the emergent patterns that we observe are a product of these social transactions.

Now that leads me to a discussion I started (and unfortunately ended too early) with a colleague on how we approach our work and interactions with others. His stance is to engage with people that are least likely to respond and engage because they are part of the ‘issue’ that one is trying to change and they perceive your action as a threat. My stance is rather to rapidly identify existing energies (geared towards similar goals as mine), to connect with them and to try to effect and expand to others through them. Where does that lead, what are relative merits of one or the other approach, how could it possibly link with complexity and chaos… the investigation has just started…

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