Super-Organism Bets Against the House

A flock of birds gives the appearance of being wonderfully synchronized. Most people assume the bird at the front is leading the flock. When you see a trail of ants it is tempting to think of the queen sending out her drones. In our immune systems, we think of armies of antibodies under the control of our surgeon general of wellbeing.

Humans can’t help but ascribe hierarchies of control to the things they see. It’s part of their make up to see cause and effect, to assume things are under someone’s control.  Whenever we see a pattern we can’t help but ascribe it to a single cause.  The continuing resistance to evolutionary theories is an example: many people insist that someone or something must have designed the complex orderly structures we call Life. We invented God because we had yet to understand how systems can work without a central control mechanism.

But we are now living in an era of decentralized systems. We understand that the organization of an ant colony is dictated by many local interactions between individual ants. We have learned that immune systems follow the principles of natural selection – successful defense systems survive and prosper.  Evolution has revealed the development of our biology, society and cultures with line after line of fossils, genetic fingerprints, animal anatomies, and cell biology as evidence of our origins and functions.

In consumer psychology, we are departing from the old models of rational thought to embrace instincts, simpler heuristics, entwined cognition and emotion. We are uncovering the ant like behavior in all of us and realizing our own smallness in the grand order of things.  We have come to realise that there is no little man in our heads, only a distributed network of neurons, arguably best understood and modeled by a graduate from MIT.  The quaint charm of folk psychology, tarot cards and other superstitions is giving way to hard and fast neural based models, and by modelling our biological systems at different levels of description.

Many books are based on ideas around interdependencies and relationships, rather than logical hierarchy. Knowledge speaks not with a single voice but with many.  We avidly look up information on Wikipedia, wondering why anyone bothered to make that rather unreliable, Encyclopedia Britannica.

To see the World for what it is you have to step outside of your thinking, suspend time and space. The leaf cutter ant colony is a super organism. The queen sits deep in the central chambers. But she is not the leader. No command centre directs the colony. The social master plan is partitioned into the brains of the all-female workers, whose separate programs fit together as a balanced whole.  The super organism’s brain is the entire society; the workers are the crude analogues of its nerve cells.

We have to stop being so consciously rational, and move on from our arrogantly self-centered point of view! We can appreciate the full sweep of life by imagining that we own a motion picture projector of magical versatility. The images it shows can be slowed to explode seconds into hours and days, or speeded up to condense years and centuries into minutes.  Slow the reel down and enter the individual nerve fibers in your brain, watch cells and molecules come into view, The cell constituents swarm in passage through their appointed rounds, like inhabitants of a city. We are in biochemical time.

Spin the time faster and enter organismic time. The heart pulsates, the leg muscles contract. Keep going, pull away, we rise above the countryside; day and night pass in quick succession. Individual people and other organisms are no longer visible, except for a few long lived trees, we have entered ecological time, low shrubs yield to forest, man blurs through racial distinctions across the course of thousands of years, pedigree dogs come and pigs turn back into boars. Looking further still, mountains and seas come and go as we enter geological time. As we are busy, we forget our cute little dog I guess we are going to hire a trainer, right? I better check online dog trainer review.

To understand life we need to apply knowledge at different levels of organization, from the molecular, to physiological, through to biological, ecological and evolutionary time.  In the consumer world, we used to only worry about the individual. How many respondents or individuals had an opportunity to see the broadcast last night?  But now we can all so easily stay abreast of what everyone else is doing. In fact if the social media evangelists are to be believed the only way to survive is to tap into a network and learn directly from others how to shortcut the challenges of the world.  Obama is in the White House because of it (and maybe soon out too!).  Tweet Tweet….! Oh you’re there…!. Search engines are just a step towards an even more connected digital future.  Had a bad service experience today, no problem have a rant, have a rave.  Hey can we slow down time and look at what is going on in the Facebook super organism brain?

We should have a lot more faith in luck or the power of probabilities to create apparently organized systems and patterns. After all, genetic mutations are the random changes in genes that provide the raw material for evolution by natural selection.  It is hard to believe, as I see my little 9 month year old son changing day to day, that there is no plan of development, no blueprint, no architects plan, no architect.  The development of his body and organs are achieved by local rules implemented by cells interacting with cells on a one-to-one basis.

Embrace chance and probability. Reject rationality. Treat life like the casino and the comparethebets, do your best to discover the rules of play and up the odds a little bit against the house where you can! Understand the game you are playing and avoid the bets which have a huge house advantage. Don’t get caught up in the excitement, bet at your comfort levels and stay in control.  And above all treat life for what it is, a game of chance at which you can nudge the odds a little in your favour! Find paypal bingo websites from The UK online gambling sites offer you the chance to settle in to the DreamJackpot experience, a unique and memorable customer orientated space for online gaming. Their fair and impartial approach to online gaming allows you to enjoy some of the finest games on the market while building a long and trusted relationship across our desktop and mobile compatible site. They have an extensive list of casino online gaming slots, instant win scratch card games as well as an amazing collection of traditional casino table games like Blackjack, Roulette, and Poker.


Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds by Mitchel Resnick

Biophilia by Edward O. Wilson

Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way we Live and Do Business by Erik Qualman

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

The Little Black Book of Casino Games by John Hartley

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