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Post details: Complexity of connections

Complexity of connections

Multitude is not enough. If you put 10 billion ping pong balls in a container and shake it vigorously, you will still have only 10 billion ping pong balls. Nothing to write home about. To make something interesting happen, you need to add interactions, relationships, feed back loops between individual members. They are the ingredient that adds complexity to the mix.

Draw 10 circles on a piece of paper. Simple, right? Now think about the number of ways in which you can connect them. Soon you will realize that such exercise leads to mind boggling number of possibilities. Interconnectedness is that magical wand that can touch a mere quantity and conjure up a new quality out of it. Almost as if the connections made whole system undergo a phase change.

Carbon is not alive. Neither are protein molecules, amino acids or carbohydrates. But put enough of them together, stir the mix with a spatula of time and strange things will happen. Individual components will start exchanging signals, they'll become codependent and before you know it - life jumps from the crucible into its precarious existence. As if the complexity of interactions tripped up some invisible trigger.

Now think of living cells in your body. Neither of those cells is really you. None of them is even aware of itself. Each taken as an individual cell is just a simple living unit without any identity, feeling, mind or other human attribute. Yet add them all together, make them communicate and voila! A person arises. An entangled conglomerate of subsystems with a mind of its own.

Let's take it one step further: take several humans, place them together on a relatively warm blue planet and make them interact. A new entity arises again. Humankind. The sum of all people which can be viewed as one giant organism. In fact, there are some schools of thought which claim that this aggregate entity is in fact God. And I have to say I am not entirely opposed to that idea. The collective humankind does have a divine signature. It has a higher perspective than any individual and can make better judgements than individuals. None of us humans is God, of course. But together with all our interactions we may just as well be.

And a natural question is - what if humankind itself is but one building block of some higher form. Perhaps, one day, if we meet other civilizations and start interacting with them, a higher purpose will emerge. A pattern that we cannot comprehend on our own.



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