I recently heard a talk by an eminent physicist on the concept of emergence. The idea is about organization on large-scale, when the actual dynamics of a system is occurring at the small scale. The most common example is the murmuration of birds, as shown in the photo below. How do tens or hundreds of birds fly individually yet form a large-scale organized pattern, at least one that the human mind can detect.


The speaker went on to show beautiful animations of the game of life, with dozens and dozens of patterns that emerge spontaneously from simple rules that govern the individual pixels. His theory or hypothesis was that structure can exist at the higher level and the lower level independently. That got me thinking, how much of our very own thought is a result of emergence in a system that has the fundamental building blocks of matter arranged in a certain pattern. The very thought that came up with the concept of emergence is an emergent phenomena, as those quarks, atoms, molecules, neuron cells dance in unison to create it!


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