Emergence

In 1776, the Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith predicted in his book, commonly known as The Wealth of Nations, that out of the individual pursuit of enlightened self-interest, there would emerge an "invisible hand." This was a metaphor that stood for a series of bottom-up mechanisms that would ultimately result in the self-regulation of markets without any need for top-down intervention.

The same basic idea was eventually taken up by Charles Darwin with his theory of evolution: we can understand life as the result of bottom-up adaptations to environmental selection pressures without having to invoke any top-down intelligent designer.

The relatively new science and mathematics of emergence study phenomena characterized by the emergence of bottom-up complexity in various kinds of systems, from traffic jams to the division of labor in insect colonies, from the stock market to weather patterns, from the visual patterns produced by fish and birds to human consciousness...



Isn't it awesome to realize we are the result of this invisible hand, this blind watchmaker, this non-teleological process? Man, what are the odds? :)
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