Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | November 20, 2013

The Concept of Emergence

I have been reflecting lately on the concept of Emergence, the idea that order comes from chaos, or better put, emerges out of chaos. We see it in nature all the time, and we see it in our own lives. Situations emerge, winning teams emerge, leaders emerge. We operate in a given landscape, and walk the line between letting the natural emerge and playing too much with the recipe and mucking it up, picking the fruit as it were too early or too late.

The opposite also happens. Order can devolve into chaos, sometimes very quickly. I’m tempted to say order devolves into chaos when we engage in wrong or incorrect action, when, as the I Ching says, we give in to the emotions of the ego, greed, lust, anger, and so on. But while I’m sure this contributes to devolution, I would want to reflect more on whether devolution also occurs naturally.

In any case, the zen way, the taoist way, is to allow the universe to emerge around us, to create a natural order, and within this landscape, act with right action, that is, practice wei wu wei, or the art of non doing.


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