On Waves and Ideology

Context: Waves and ideology

        Some thoughts which come to my mind in response to the blog post “Waves and ideology” referenced above in creative resonance to the ideas expressed in Dr. Martina Feyzrakhmanova’s blog, Thinking Clearly:

        This all obliquely reminds me of something I vaguely remember Alan Moore (writer: Doctor Who, The Watchmen, 2000AD) said of the Arab Spring in 2010 – that the movement was a wave passing through the people of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, etc., that it was not a separate entity but was more like a pressure wave passing through a transmission medium. Ideologies are also very much like this: compression, pressure or shock-waves passing through a medium of some sort and rippling, echoing, ricocheting around until something else (a new, revived or recombinatory ideological fad) arrives. The transmission medium is the literal ocean of vastly interdependent and interconnected Information-Age human beings.

The spectacular and often unobserved effects of the dynamics of energy waves passing through a transmission medium.

        I think we may also perhaps be in a situation where what appear to be ideologies and volitional assertions of intellect or belief may in some (or many) cases themselves be emergent properties of complex systems, like the beautiful murmurations of starlings – they flock and twist and spiral in dancing, rhythmic patterns where each starling is following very simple rules but as a whole the complex patterns emerge and self-perpetuate, however transient they may actually ultimately be.  Ideologies, political and social movements, cultures and national identities – these are waves of compression, patterns passing through the medium of human beings and as enervated by our thoughts and decisions, our entrained behaviours and actions.

A murmuration.

        I suspect that a large amount of what we think of as cultural trends, political ideologies, memes (in Dawkin’s original sense) and shared languages or conceptual vocabularies are themselves to some extent emergent, self-organising systems which (although dependent on human beings, technologies and minds for expression, instantiation and enervation) are also in some sense independent of us; they are not necessarily always consciously created but may emerge spontaneously given appropriate conditions for growth and propagation. We, as a globally interconnected population, are actually the medium of transmission – that through which unseen and unknown complexities might proliferate and multiply. We are ourselves decision-making entities and this volition or decision-making and communication-generation may be the selection process which instils the energy which propels the compression waves and allows them to adapt and evolve through mutation and replication.

Cultural analysis: sometimes a deep dive…

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