Seeking Emergent Properties

There have been some people who have questioned why I chose to have a picture of water waves in my header.  It’s quite simple.  The standing wave in a river is an excellent example of emergent properties. Emergent properties are extrinsic in nature.  They unfold or reveal themselves like a wave in a river.  The rocks, the river bed and the flow of water create a standing wave.  This wave is continuously changing but the wave as defined by the boundary conditions of the rocks, water and river bed remains consistent.

Our thoughts are much like this wave as is our free will.  Examples of emergent properties are our weight, net worth, and quality of life.  Our weight emerges from our intake of sustenance, expenditure of energy and our genetics.  Our net worth emerges out of our assets, liabilities, expenditures and income.  The quality of our life, our success and satisfaction all emerge out of the actions we take and the resulting feedback we receive via interactions with our environment.  The things we pursue so eagerly including pleasure, happiness, and meaning are the sum of the parts that go in to bringing those qualities of life about.

Abrahamic Oneness or Heaven when not external to humans, Hindu and Buddhist Nirvana, and Taoist Stillness all emerge out of the rituals, meditations, prayers and actions of the adherents.  To focus on these concepts or ideal states is to lead ourselves astray of the path which gets us there.  It’s important to set out for a destination, but it is the means by which we get there that is all important.  With respect to managing our business, the means are the primary focus.  To focus on emergent properties is what others would have us do.  It is what our genetic programming would have us do.  Advertising and many motivational speakers have us focus on emergent properties as it is profitable and drives return business.  Emergent properties along with biofeedback drive our addictions.  To be aware of what is emergent versus what we have some level of control over is critical to the success of our business ventures.

emergent river wave
Focusing on manageable properties brings about the emergent properties we seek.

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