In Ron's "bike riding community" story, the relationship between
language and community is beautifully presenced. He says, "here's an
opportunity to take on the *chicken and egg* conundrum again".
This is a great story to display the "emergence principle" of complex
adaptive systems theory. I think it's the single most useful
distinction to come out of CAS thinking so far. At least for
challenges of business and the organisation of human affairs.
"Emergence" is a new kind of cause and effect. The *chicken and egg*
conundrum is a result of the inability of our fundamental inability
to deal with some kinds of situations with the linear cause & effect
reasoning that we have inherited. There are phenomena that arise
together, that occur together or not at all, and these cannot be
understood in a linear, single cause or even mutual cause manner.
Examples is brain/nervous system and locomotion, a vocal ability for
language and a brain which is suited to language, language and
communities of cooperation. They emerge, arise, occur together or
they do not occur at all.
Emergence describes the phenomenon of something(s) occurring from the
interplay of forces or elements that has characteristic not traceable
(in any linear or directly causal way) to the characteristics of
those forces or elements from which it emerged.
-- Michael McMaster Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk