a murmuration of starlings
At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat: the sound of cycles in sync. It pervades nature at every scale from the nucleus to the cosmos…thousands of fireflies congregate in the mangroves and flash in unison, without any leader or cue from the environment. Trillions of electrons march in lockstep in a superconductor, enabling electricity to flow…In the solar system, gravitational synchrony can eject huge boulders out of the asteroid belt and towards Earth…Even our bodies are symphonies of rhythm, kept alive by the relentless, coordinated firing of thousands of pacemaker cells in our hearts. In every case, these feats of synchrony occur spontaneously, almost as if nature had an eerie yearning for order. (1)
Synchrony is a spontaneous tendency towards united order and it is the most pervasive drive in all of nature. As a phenomenon, it occurs right across the board – from inanimate objects to complex organisms like human beings.
We wring our hands in despair when we see the difficulties around us in the world, positive that we can never learn to work – or even live – together in unity.
And yet metronomes, starlings, pacemaker cells and schools of fish can spontaneously work together with ease.
If this is a natural condition, then why do we, sophisticated as we are, have such huge difficulty accessing it?
If we increased our powers of empathy and extended our understanding of love would that increase the ‘harmony’ between us?
Are we somehow getting in our own way?
And if so, how exactly are we doing this?
This is an amazing – and totally beautiful – video. Enjoy.
(1) Steven Strogatz, Sync.