Isn't spontanious order overrated?

Max M (
Fri, 4 Sep 1998 12:30:05 +0200

It has become quite a dogma (on this list) that self organisation in spontaneous systems is the best way to do most things. I can certainly understand the fascination with this way of thinking.

It's a bit like watching neatly arranged domino pieces topple as they hit each other. For me it's a bit like a boyhood fantasy if the world really worked like this. "You start of a simple yet complex system and magically it evolves into an optimal state, like intelligence."

It's the kind of fascination that makes some computergames so great. "Boulder Dash", "Lemmings", "Command & Conquer", "Sim City" and others.

I do think though that it is in large part of the current trends in science and culture with buzzwords like: complexity, Genetically evolved programs, Neural nets, fractals etc. Math and the sciences har recently discovered this way of thinking, and like the carpenter with a new hammer, everything looks like a nail.

There is no doubt in my mind that spontanious order has it's place, but Iøm equally certain that it's not a cureall for all of our complex problems.

Especially in politics and economics spontanious order and the invisible hand is hot. But if the free market is the answer to most economical and political problems, then it's a bit like saying that intelligence has little value. If simple interconnected systems can perform wel in complex enviroments why the have intelligence done so well until now.

Probably a company like Microsoft is proof that inside the free markets and the spontanity there will be pockets of not so free markets. Big organisations that are run top down by intelligent leaders.

This means that there at some levels will be free markets and at some levels there will not.

Then my question is, at what level will spontanious order work best?


Max M Rasmussen
New Media Director



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