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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The universal obsession with identifying a "leader" for a self-organizing system - the anti-government protesters in Egypt
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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The universal obsession with identifying a "leader" for a self-organizing system - the anti-government protesters in Egypt

it would be laughable if it wasn't so sad... even the most comprehensive and generally straightforward reporting (yes, i believe that would be al jazeera), seemingly can't get past the fact that no leader has yet emerged to be anointed as the spokesperson for the protesters in tahrir square... nobody can quite grasp that truly empowered people - as the demonstrators have consistently shown themselves to be - don't NEED a goddam leader...

the correct technical term for what's happening in egypt is a phenomenon that is an element of complexity theory - the "emergent properties" of "self-organizing systems," to be specific - a phenomenon that has only recently been identified and studied, principally through the efforts of the santa fe institute... i can't do it justice in attempting to describe it here, but basically it means that, if the various independent actors in a system - in this case, the protesters - are sufficiently well-connected and in agreement on what they're all about, they don't NEED a leader...

as you can imagine, the entire concept of a group involved in changing the dynamics in an entire region, upending the power structure and insisting on being recognized and dealt with that doesn't either HAVE or NEED a leader scares the ever-loving shit out of our super-rich elites and their bought and paid-for governmental puppets...

p.s. i can't tell you how many times i've been looked at like i'm crazy when i say that empowered, informed, well-intended, decent people don't need a leader... the persistent myth is that there HAS to be a leader, a myth that's as strong and as durable an article of faith as the myth of "if there's a winner, there HAS to be a loser"...

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