“Stigmergy is a mechanism of indirect coordination, through the environment, between agents of actions. The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of the next action. In that way, subsequent actions tend to reinforce and build on each other, leading to the spontaneous emergence of coherent, systematic activity. Stigmergy is a form of self-organization. It produces complex, intelligent structures without need for to much planning, control or even direct communication between agents.” (from Wikipedia)
The stigmergic correlation is about sensing the others and be willing and able to correlate with them. We can do a lot of things in a stigmergic way, using no words, just paying attention to the others and trying to sense what are their intentions: we can make together a fruit salad, we can bring forth a beautiful permaculture garden, we can dance. If we use words, we can make everything in a stigmergic way.
The course aim is to help the students to develop the “stigmergic attitude”.
For this, we will employ a lot of games that will help us learn how to correlate ourselves in stigmergic fashion. Therefore, in time we will develop the “art of sensing the others” and correlate with them in ways that both honor them and us.
Life as a Dance
An improvised dance is the perfect expression of what stigmergism is. First of all: everybody participates. You can not say: I am dancing when you are just looking. You have to dance if you intend to be a part of the dance. Being part of the dance you start to have a role in the creation of the dance itself. Because your moves will influence others moves. And their moves will influence yours. And so, in a stigmergic design, the dance self-creates itself through the unique and unpredictable participation of everybody.
What the “stigmergic” word enhances is that, when you make your creative move, you leave a “trace”. This “trace” influences, in a way or another, the others decisions how to continue to dance. Your “trace” inspires them. Everybody is free to choose its move, but for sure they will want to continue what you already started. They will sense somehow your intention and will want to continue it, expressing themselves too in this continuation, using their liberty and creativity how to do their move.
Stigmergic cooperation enhances participation, liberty of self-expression, authenticity, spontaneity and creativity, but used in a way which enhances not only individuality, but community too. Is a truly holarhic approach, a co-creative process.
To engage Life as a dance is an amazing evolutionary step further for us as individuals.
Stigmergic correlation is about trusting that there is “something greater than us” that is expressing through us. You perceive yourself as part of an invisible dance. You try to listen to the invisible music that could inspire you and the others to co-create something that is way beyond your capacities of creation or control. Stigmergic correlation is first of all about the willingness to cooperate in ways that are not imposing the outcome, but let it open-ended. It is trusting that a living organizing principle is manifesting through our cooperation. When we compete, when we fight each other, trying to control others and impose them our will, we fail to align ourselves with something greater than us and reiterate again and again the same world of conflict and struggle.
Life is about coherence. When we (consciously or unconsciously) fail to cohere with others (humans and not-humans), we get out of the Great Circle of Life.
The consequence of this failure is exactly the social and ecological crisis we are now facing. If we continue stubbornly to chose not to cohere with others, we will bring great peril to us.
“Stigmergic Correlation” is about human coherence. We have to become a species coherent with its environment. We have to become coherent as a global humanity. Now we are not coherent: some of us are planting trees, some of us are cutting trees. Some of us collect the plastic from Nature, others continue to get rid of plastic throwing it into Nature.
What we will learn in this course is that: being willing to cohere with others, to correlate (as in a dance) your movements with others is a long-term efficient life strategy. It is an evolutionary step further. It is a necessary innovative behavior that could bring forth a fair and ecological human civilization.
It is all a matter of story. It is the story we tell ourselves about how the Universe works that informs our perceptions, behaviors and actions. We know already, from the new scientific perspective, that Life evolves toward increasingly scales of cooperation. But there is no true cooperation without mutual-consistency.
There is a new concept called “mutual consistency”, which tells us that the Universe is a dynamic web of processes in which no part or event is fundamental to the others since each follows from all the others, the relations among them determining the entire cosmic pattern of events. In this conception: all possible patterns of matter-energy could form, but only those working out their consistency in mutual relation with surrounding patterns will last. (after Elisabet Sahtouris)
The course helps you to feel the others as equipotent participants in the dance of Life.
From where creativity comes forth?
A dance is a clear expression of a what stigmergic correlation could create. The same, a forest is a stigmergic co-creation. There is no “centralized control”. The forest is in itself the dance of its participants. In a similar fashion with an ecosystem a human society should be organized too: a fluid organization, a “dance” co-created by the participation of everyone.
This kind of society is not a utopia, but the natural outcome of a higher level of consciousness. Exercises and games that we will employ, will help us deepen the art of stigmergic co-creation.
Emergent design is somehow the natural outcome of stigmergic correlation. A society could be a new level of symbiosis, a super-organism brought forth by the participation and correlation of its constituents: the humans. Our society could be a dynamic process that creates itself through emergent-design, as any ecosystems do.
To have a synergistic society, it is not enough to put different people together. You need a specific relational architecture that is conducive to synergy and people able of symbiotic behavior.
Together, if we let ourselves inspired by Life principles (and stigmergic correlation is exactly about this), we can co-create a fair world that is beyond our capacities of design or control. The course will help students to grasp a little the concept of emergent design and develop some skills in this direction.
There is another concept, collective intelligence, that has some connection with our stigmergic correlation. This correlation is the source of so called “collective intelligence” or “flow states”. We are living beings, part of the Great Circle of Life and we are animated by the spirit that animates the whole Universe – the Cosmic Dynamics. I believe that always “something greater than us” wants to express through us. What this Cosmic Dynamics needs for that is our willingness for cooperation and correlation. I believe that the full expression of our innate potentiality could only be expressed through our cooperation and correlation.
What will we learn?
My hope is that we will learn to open to each other, to let the “unknown” to enter our lives and to “trust the Life” that wants to express through our cooperation.
We will learn how to create things together: from a simple salad to communities and social rules. We will learn how to engage Life as a Dance, as a Journey of Discovery, as a “Niche Construction” – where all everyone is invited to participate.
Be a Collaborator!
Anyone can become our collaborator!
We are searching for artists, trainers, film-makers, web-designers and for everyone that is inspired by the same vision as us.
Whatever the challenges of the future, cooperators will have a clear evolutionary advantage compared to non-cooperators.
In the new VUCA world, we will have to survive and thrive in new ways, different from those that have been successful so far. As a multicellular organism is smarter and has better capacities to deal with its environment than a cell alone, as an ant-hill is smarter and has better capacities to deal with its environment than an ant alone, the cooperative groups will be smarter and better equipped to deal with future challenges than single individuals.
Educators, trainers or artists – those who aim to have a social impact, to spread an idea – have to cooperate, if they want to succeed. However, the evolution of Life has a clear direction: towards ever-increasing scales of cooperation.
Those who want to move forward must learn to cooperate in mutually enhancing ways.
The open project “Butterfly Communities” is an emerging community that is searching for young artists, trainers, filmmakers, etc. that have understood that we have to help each other to have a stronger social impact.