Every Revolutionary Should Know This

RevolutionI want to change society, the economic system, politics…I want to see everything improved. I think the best way that happens is stigmergy.

Social revolution is not going to happen through the old ways. It’s too easy manipulating through the media old ways previous generations mastered. New ways are needed, ones impervious to infiltration and disruption.

It’s great inspiration draws people to the streets. I’m for that, if that’s what you’re compelled to do.

Technology and the internet, however, create revolution’s new normal. They allow people to operate in independent yet coordinated ways then share their results. Doing so they create momentum faster and more potent than before. Without stigmergy, changes take a long time, get corrupted, and often fail.

What is stigmergy? From Wikipedia

Stigmergy is a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents or actions. The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a next action, by the same or a different agent. In that way, subsequent actions tend to reinforce and build on each other, leading to the spontaneous emergence of coherent, apparently systematic activity.

Stigmergy is a form of self-organization. It produces complex, seemingly intelligent structures, without need for any planning, control, or even direct communication between the agents. As such it supports efficient collaboration between extremely simple agents [or complex ones like humans]….

Some common examples of stigmergy in action: A city will design a park with planners deciding where sidewalks will be. But users sometimes will carve better, more efficient pathways. Do the users hold a meeting, analyze the problem, come up with alternative design solutions, rank them, then pick the

A well-worn stigmergic creation.
A well-worn stigmergic creation.

best one? Of course not. Users choose the most efficient path on their own. In time, others do the same. Eventually, a clear, well-worn path results. This path is more efficient, and therefore more frequently used by those who follow.

Ant colonies operate on stigmergic principles. As do bees. Swarms of birds and schools of fish exhibit fast-moving stigmergic behavior. Even swarm drone technology exhibits such behavior: autonomous flying machines, operating independently, yet connected and as a whole, collect data about their surroundings while moving in a self-coordinated fashion.

Stigmergy in Copiosis

Stigmergy is working for Copiosis. For example, our Net Benefit Algorithm emerged in the same way a path gets created through a field. I threw down an admittedly crappy version. Then, one by one, people gave input, making the formula more and more fit. We’re still refining it, even today, but I’m amazed how quickly – just a matter of weeks, we went from nothing, to a nearly-workable formula, to now, a robust, working product.

Our current developing Action Group is forming the same way. Our current developing Action Group is forming the same way. Thanks to people like Simone and Justin, TC and KJ, Shannon and so many more, we’re amplifying out messages across social media. I couldn’t do that alone. But with little trail blazing by me, we now have several picking that trail up where I left off. And the results are promising.

Our core team has gone from just me to a small group of people from around the world with outstanding credentials and expertise. We are moving forward on all cylinders. I’m eager to see how things unfold from here.

The more tangible results we produce, the more team members get active, helping produce more results. As the team grows, better ideas emerge. More team members feel empowered by others’ acts. For example, today I see other team members answering questions about Copiosis in ways that rival in quality answers I give. This is stigmergy in action.

A field criss-crossed with stigmergic paths
A field criss-crossed with stigmergic paths








Violence is so 19th Century

Direct and often violent revolution is what our forefathers used to create social change. Revolutions start well-meaning. A few or even one leading actor can start them. As such movements grow. But if the leadership doesn’t foster fresh perspectives, adopting instead traditional structures, strategies and tactics, such movements weaken or stop moving forward. Those who would dismantle such movements can do so easily: they remove the leader, or infiltrate the organization and create chaos or indecision. These subversive tactics destroy movements from the inside when the movement relies on the old ways.

Violence is a non-starter if the opposition has more guns than you.

Stigmergy benefits from passion, interest and individual focus requiring loose cooperation. You want to create an event to raise money? Go for it. Interested in joining that guy organizing that fundraiser? Have at it! You think you can create a better way to raise funds? Try it out and let’s see.

The 80-20 rule.

Initially, 20 percent of the team often ends up doing most of the early work. However, as those actors achieve more and more tangible results, they gain more and more attention while generating more momentum. Other team members see the successes. They get excited as they are drawn to the pull success creates: everyone wants to be part of something that’s winning. In short order, you have a fully-engaged, active team, rallying around well-worn pathways that began as the small acts of one or two or five people.

In the end, the 80-20 rule works in the organization’s favor. And the bigger the follower numbers get, it’s logical expecting that the 20 percent group gets bigger too, meaning more work gets done.

I want improvement, something I call fundamental change. Sometimes I’m daunted by the task. Stigmergy helps lighten that load. It’s worked so far. I’m happy sticking with that plan.

4 thoughts on “Every Revolutionary Should Know This

  1. Perry et al,
    Have you yet stumbled upon Doughnut Economics?
    Buy the book.
    Kate is a PhD “rebel economist” who teaches at Oxford.
    She’s amazing, and I’ve been meaning to connect you, because I feel your work and her work — which has spawned a substantial global movement — is intersectional with yours.
    The book is one I found extremely worth reading, and its key (in my mind) message intersects strongly with your post here.
    I still have held back on publicizing Copiosis as much as I wish I could, admittedly, because of core concerns I’ve had around its core team, and its privatized nature in terms of intellectual property, governance, and a “laser-focused vision” which eschews mutual collaboration in areas of seemingly clear overlap with other networks and groups.
    If you want stigmergy…
    … Best way is to open it up.
    (C.C. nonprofit+attribution licensing? Publish documents on an open platform? (A Git platform for tracking issues, changes?)
    Use Holacracy, or Sociocracy?
    When I see that Copiosis is no longer private, or at least no longer a privately-governed entity, and its content and property are more freely (not as in free beer, but free as in freedom), and its internal governing documents for internal decision-making and chains of authority, are all clearly identified, acknowledged, well-recorded, and transparent (this requires proactive effort, I know)…
    … Then:
    I’ll be much more proactive in my promotion of Copiosis (not just the system, but the team and organization), with relish.
    The best, most successful movement leaders I see are ones who do not lay any claim — at all — to ‘owning’ their work.
    (Being supported can take place without any IP, because it’s not the IP folks are paying for — it’s the work done which they wish to support.
    And that is easier when it is open.)

  2. It’s a fantastic plan. Allowing the attractive forces to do the “work.” No pushing against or efforting. I love it and appreciate you for your vision and ongoing expansion.

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