Another reflection on emergence and the whole being greater than the sum of its parts

When things are combined in a seamless way, it allows for new properties and capabilities to emerge that did not previously exist in the individual components alone. Take an orchestra for example. The various sections – strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion – each have their own unique musical qualities. But when brought together and blended in harmony under the direction of a conductor, something magical happens. The symphonic whole is far more moving and profound than any single section could ever be on its own.

Seamless combination enables emergence. Emergence is the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns, and properties through the interaction of a system’s components. The seamless integration of parts allows them to interrelate and combine in extraordinarily complex ways, giving rise to wondrous phenomena like consciousness in the brain, swarm intelligence in schools of fish, or a captivating melody in a symphony. When things mesh without friction or discontinuity, they tap into hidden potentials. What may appear at first to be mere addition soon reveals itself to be multiplication, and synthesis yields not diminishment but transcendence. Seamless combination thus allows for more than the pieces alone – it births emergent novelty, value, and meaning.

Matthew 19:3-12. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.


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