EvolvableJune 5, 2012 Leave a comment
Last week we started to take a look at Kevin Kelly’s take on the benefits of swarm systems. We are wondering what are the implications for movement builders. We looked at how important it is for us to be adaptable.
Kelly also says that swarm systems are evolvable. He says that these are:
Systems that can shift the locus of adaptation over time from one part of the system to another (from the body to the genes or from one individual to a population) must be swarm based. Non-collective systems cannot evolve (in the biological sense).
I have long been persuaded that we must apply an evolutionary lens to our work for social transformation. But Kelly offers and important nuance, the idea that an evolvable system in one that can shift the locus of adaptation from one part of the system to another.
Certainly this is true for social movement work. Sometimes we need to focus on the development of individuals and the work of raising consciousness, sometimes we have to think about global action, other times local policy. Sometimes we need to focus on building community at other times we need the sort of mass mobilization that can shake up the power structure. Yes. We need to work on all of all of it at the same time. But our focus, the locus of adaptation must shift in accordance with what is needed.
Oh. And don’t try to evolve on your own! It can’t be done.