Within this Community you are all so awesome and welcoming to everyone who is new here and you all seem to learn, grow and then continue to learn that there is little I can add that our writing team hasn't already put in the Fitness Guides we have here. Then some new stuff comes across my attention and it clicks with stuff I already know so ... this post. The core mission of Darebee is to contribute in the creation of a better world. This is governed by the Darebee ethos.
We kind of all know that our behavior, our ethos and our attitude influences each other here and it has a real impact in the outside world. It helps however to have some kind of formal framework to better understand it. This is where Stigmergy comes in. Basically, the theory says that everything we do leaves a trace. That trace has an impact. That impact affects us and others. Did the freezing wind hitting my face make me feel physically bad? Exercising poor self-regulation I externalized this feeling by snarling at the person standing in front of me for not moving fast enough in the train ticket line.
My snarls elevated my cortisol levels as my stress response climbed (and did the same for them). I now ruined my day and that of the other person who may go ahead and ruin the day of someone else because I made them feel so bad for no discernible reason. Take this chain of events, amplify it by a factor of five (because I refuse to believe I am the only person on the planet incapable of exercising self-control), take it to its natural conclusion and you may well end up with a first responder arriving at the scene of an accident with a life-or-death situation in their hand and already feeling fed-up, stressed-out and unfocused.
My hypothetical chain of events may appear somewhat improbable but as high-functioning beings who rely on a truly delicate instrument locked away behind our eyes to operate in the world, the neurotransmitters that govern it can play a pivotal role at key moments in our life.
Stigmergy is a central concept in the theory of swarm intelligence. It basically says that we respond to our environment in a reflexive manner, but that reflexive manner, amplified by all of those around us, becomes a guiding principle that appears to be a higher-order intelligence. You've all seen massive flocks of birds undulate through the sky with no bird bumping into others and the flock avoiding any obstacles even though the birds in the center of it cannot possible have any idea what lies at the edge of it. That's stigmergy at work. It works in much the same way across social media networks and forums and the real world where an additional quality kicks in known as the Actor-Network effect. That, simplified, says that much of who we are and what we do is the result of the contacts we create over time (i.e. our network of connections).
If, for instance, the Darebee Team as a whole were to become belligerent and sarcastic in The Hive it would create such a toxic atmosphere, really quickly that would affect all its members even though, comparatively, we are very few and you are so many. What we have here, the acceptance, guidance and safe space we have created would be ruined. By just a handful of us. So, the construct we all see as The Hive is created out of the actions of all of us. Those actions are powered by our personal desire for a world that works on acceptance and can offer help and guidance to each person, as needed. It would appear that within The Hive we can achieve that with just a little bit of effort but the principle of Stigmergy and the Actor-Network effect I have cited above show that the real world works on exactly the same principle with, perhaps, a little more friction that resists our efforts.
Our everyday actions have consequences even if we never actually see them. We are then, each, responsible for how we act, what we think and how we behave. But we are also, by implication, responsible for the actions and behavior of those around us. Good to know that there is science backing it all up. A little terrifying to realize that we each have a little more personal power than we thought we did.
As always, I hope this helps and any questions you may have please let me know in the thread below. Stay safe.