Thursday, November 19, 2009


Each day this week I will discuss the evidence for our interconnection in the world. Our feelings of separateness can lead us to feelings of dissatisfaction because we have lost our connection to the universe, to who we really are.

Monday – Origins - A Moment in Singularity (a.k.a. The Big Bang)
Tuesday - Holarchy
Wednesday - Chaos and the Hidden Order of Life
Today - Synchrony
Friday - Time and Place

In the simplest of nature’s creatures we find valuable lessons. In some parts of the world, as the sun goes down, and darkness descends, fireflies appear and slowly begin to blink in unison. Witnesses to these events know deep inside that this is not by chance.

Scientists have studied the firefly and now better understand these and other similar events like crickets chirping in rhythm. Apparently there are biological oscillators within us that seek connection with others around us; a natural rhythm within the beat of change, the beat of time, the beat of life.

The human heart has specialized pacemaker cells that are responsible for the rhythmic beating and subsequent movement of the blood through the body. This is an integrated complex of thousands of cells all working together to maximize heart muscle efficiency.

Studies of people clapping in an audience, human sleep cycles, and the nature of traffic jams have found patterns of hidden order. On college campuses, females who live together in close daily contact tend to experience their menstrual cycles together.

Consider for a moment your ability to read and comprehend this material. Ponder your capacity to solve problems, think creatively, and consciously change the world around you. After all you are only a bag of chemicals made up mostly of water. The neural network we call consciousness is truly a miracle of connectedness and interdependency.

Duncan Watts’s “Six Degrees” found strong evidence for his hypothesis that every person on the planet is socially connected to within six degrees of separation. A successful play and movie were produced around this idea.

In nature’s ecosystems, thousands of interdependent connections exist in what at first appear to be otherwise simple relationships. As we have found the hard way, any intervention has unpredictable, even unintended results.

Do you see it? Do you see the connectedness that surrounds us?

There are some really great books on these and other examples of synchrony that I can recommend:

Barabasi, Albert-Laszlo. Linked, How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science and Everyday Life. New York: Flume Books, 2003.

Buchanan, Mark. Nexus, Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks. New York: WW Norton, 2003.

Holland, John H. Hidden Order. New York: Perseus Books, 1995.

Sole, Ricard, and Brian Goodwin. Signs of Life, How Complexity Pervades Biology. New York: Perseus, 2000.

Strogatz, Steven. Synch, The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. New York: Hyperion Books, 2003.

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