hello stigmergy


heard the word a bit.. places.

then got a bit deeper reading Kevin Carson‘s regulated state…

from ch.1:

ch 1 kevin




stigmergy synthesizes the highest realizations of both individualism and collectivism, and represent each of them in its most completely actualized form, without qualifying or impairing either in any way. Michel Bauwens uses the term “cooperative individualism”..

networked individualism..

every individual is free to formulate any innovation she sees fit, without any need for permission from the collective. every individual or voluntary association of individuals is free to adopt the innovation, or not , as they see fit.

spaces of permission with nothing to prove .. and bravery to change mind..

each innovation is modular (meaning the project “can be broken down into smaller components.. that can be independently produced before they are assembled into a whole” – Benkler), and may be adopted into any number of larger projects where it is found useful.

the smaller the unit of governance, and the closer it was to the individual, the closer it approached the ideal of unanimous consent to all acts of govt

small is ginormous, limits, and Benjamin Barber ness

the increased role of each individual in influencing the outcome of policy. but this ideal can only be fully attained when…

the unit of governance is the individual.

p. 15: so majority rule was he lesser evil, a way to approximate as closely as possible to the spirit of unanimous consent when an entire group of people had to be bound by a single decision (vote). stigmergy removes the need for any individual to be bound by the group will.

as describe by Heather Marsh: with stigmergy, an initial idea is freely given, and the project is driven by the idea, not by a personality or group of personalities. no individual needs permission (competitive_ or consensus (cooperative) to propose an idea or initiate a project. there is no need to discuss or vote on the idea, if an idea is exciting or necessary it will attract interest. the interest attracted will be from people actively involved in the system and willing to put effort into carrying the project further, not empty votes from people with little interest or involvement.

p. 16: in short, as Michel Bauwens describes it, “peer production is based on the elimination of permission-asking and a shift to the self-selection of tasks”

p. 17: in a distributed network, every node has the power to transmit, and any two noes can communicate directly with each other without passing through a central node or obtaining the approval of whoever controls that node. a network is “plurarchical,” in de Ugarte’s terminology, rather than democratic. instead of the individual members simply selecting who controls the central noes, “someone makes a proposal and everyone who wishes to join in can do so. ….. in a distributed network, on the other hand, decision-making power is non-rivalrous. each individual’s decision affects only hersefl, and does not impede the ability of others to do likewise. “even if the maority not only disagreed with a proposal, but also acted against it, it wouldn’t be able to prevent the proposal from being carried out.

Hardt and Negri describe the form of organization the call the “multitude” – as opposed to the monolithic “people,” the atomized, undifferentiated “masses,” and the homogeneneous “working class” – in terms that sound very much like stigmergy:

the people has traditionally been a unitary conception. the population, of course, is characterized by all kinds of differences, but the people reduces that diversity to a unity and makes of the population a single identity: “the people” is one.

the multitude, in contrast, is many. the multitude is composed of innumerable internal differences that can never be reduced to a unity or a single identity – … the multitude is a multiplicity of all these singular differences.

the masses are also contrasted with the people because they too cannot be reduced to a unity or an identity. the masses certainly are composed of all types and sorts, but really one should not say that different social subjects make up the masses. the essence of the masses is indifference: all differences are submerged and drowned in the masses. all the colors of the population fade to gray..

in the multitude, social differences remain different…. thus the challenge posed by the convept of multitude is for a social multiplicity to manage to communicate and act in common while remaining internally different.

prejudice quote


p. 18: indeed, in their (Hardt & Negri) description of the swarming activity of the multitude, they appeal explicitly to the behavior of stigmergically organized termite colonies.

Hardt and Negir also attribute an internal tendency toward democracy to the multitude, in terms much like what David Graeber calls “horizontalism.”

beyond horizontal no? an x-d multi perspective/dimensional horizontal.. flat – but from all dimensions..

the advantages of stigmergic organization go beyond resilience. Jean Russell coin the term “thrivability” to describe systems that are more than merely resilient. … rather than simply withstanding or recovering quickly from difficulties, the thrivable organization is characterized by an “unfolding pattern of life giving rise to life”; it will “develop vigorously,” “prosper” and “flourish.” it is “anti-fragile”: that is it gets better, generates and transformed when disturbed.

starfish ness

p. 19: the reason is that it’s organized on a modular basis, and each discrete module of work is carried out by someone who volunteered to do it because it’s something the care about (often passionately) and they were empowered to do it without waiting for anyone else’s permission. so each task in a stigmergic organization is carried out by those most interested in it.

the thing you can’t not doauthentic energy ness

to the extent that progress depends on the sholders of giants effect – people building on each other’s contributions – a stigmergic organization that facilitates collaboration, and does so without enforcing any barriers (like patents and copyrights) to making use of others’ ideas or creations, is the ideal embodiment of Russell’s idea of thrivability as promoting “growth on growth.

stigmergy is ideal for facilitating division of labor, with those best suited to a taskselecting it for themselves.

we get to trust – and no need for credentials..  as we know them. credential comes fromeudaimonia – form you picking – every day.

it makes far more sense for each person to do what she is best at, and let others make use of her contributions in whatever way is relevant to their own talents.

if you have a large assembly of people who are forced to agree on every movement, including the mechanism for what constitutes such agreement, then you rarely achieve anything at all.

app to listen w/0 agenda.. an- echoic chamber ness – and need for simple basic mechanism (be you) device (chip) to be editable via personal fabrication.. if a person so chooses…

one ness

therefore, as you bid a swarm it is imperative that everybody is empowered to act in the swarm just through what they believe will further its goals – but no one is allowed to empower themselves to restrict others, neither on their own nor through superior numbers.

none of us if one of uswhat do i have to do for you to be free, overseeing no-strings ness – could/would be taken care of here..

then  goes into why swarm should not be leaderless… but i’m not sure..

in beginning of qr..can we restrict others’ means to oppress, raise an eyebrow, attach strings..?
till enough are closer to Krishnamurti to parents
ie so we don’t keep getting in way

ah.. next para..

the rule covers them… because that would be limiting

p. 20 – but i also believe in competition between many overlapping swarms, so that activists can float in and out of organizations that best match the change they want to see in the world.

don’t get this – don’t see competition as helping – too close to day care ness. like defiling so that then we’ll need detox..

p. 20 – talking about simple message. 99 and 1 ness.

so rather than translate for all (because it will always be – not finished) make it so simple – universal language ish – then like Kevin (and Yaacov) say – people redefine it every day..

– – – –

ch 3 kevin





p. 51 (52 addition- bottom) – Heather Marsh’s proposal for governance:

i esp like:

meritocracy: ….

contribution at all levels of each user group must be open to all users. expertise can be assessed and acquired in concentric user groups, and work can be contributed and accepted or rejected by stigmergy….. people can work on anything they like, they are not required to submit resumes, acquire accreditation, seniority, or approval from an individual authority. i f their work is good enough it will be accepted by the user group. everyone can work on the system that interests them, doing the jobs at the level they are capable of, with as much or as little involvement as they choose. if the worker is also part of th euser group, the benefits to themselves are immediate and obvious. the most effective way to prevent producer and consumer conflict of interests is to eliminate separation between the two. the farmer who eats their own food has an interest in producing healthy food.

p. 52-55  – Michel Bauwens‘ partner state:

Michel Bauwens, building on Orsi’s work, sees the partner state as a sort of “peer-to-peer state,” organized on stigmergic rather than democratic principles.

first of all, these communities are not democracies. why is that so? because democracy, the market and hierarchies are all modes of allocation of scarce resources. in hierarchy, our superiors decide; in the market, prices decide; in a democracy, “we” decide.

but where resources are abundant, as they are with knowledge, code and design – which can be copied and shared at a marginal cost – they are truly unnecessary. these types of communities are truly poly-archies and the type of power that is held in them is meritocratic, distributed and ad hoc. everyone can contribute without permission, but those with recognised expertise who are accepted by the community – the so-called “maintainer” and the “editors” – decide which software or design patches are acceptable.

these decisions require expertise, not communal consensus. the tension between inclusive participation and selection for excellence is one that every social system faces, and that peer production has solved in a rather elegant way. the genius of the solution is not that it avoids conflict, but that it designs away unnecessary conflict by allowing for the maximum human freedom compatible with the goal of co-operation. indeed, peer production is always an “object-oriented” co-operation, and it is the particular object that will drive the particular form chosen for its peer governance mechanisms.

the main allocation mechanism is such projects is a “distribution of tasks”. unlike in the industrial model, there is no longer a division of labour between jobs and mutual coordination. because the work environment is designed to be totally open and transparent, every participating individual can see what is needed, and decide accordingly whether to contribute. remarkable, this new model allows for both global coordination and for small-group dynamics. and it does this without “command and control”

so the partner state, arguably, is not so much a “government” as a system of governance.


dabbled a bit here: swarms – and ant network and 99 and 1 and murmuration and free to fly and (stigmergy ness) – self-organizing

Louis Rosenbergwaggle dance.. Esko Kilpi


wikipedia small






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, who lack any memory, intelligence or even individual awareness of each other.


so then, do we need voting, unions, protests, health insurance, …

what if we did things so differently – that we didn’t.



An additional, and major, problem is that convergence strategies aren’t effective at adapting to new situations that require unexpectedly different behaviours (that is to say, they’re not good at improvisation).

On the contrary, the brain lacks any sort of static, centralised structure. “Unity of mind” is constituted through instances of grand-scale synchronization, whereupon different neuronal areas act transiently in coordination. These instances of synchronization have a limited lifespan so the brain doesn’t get stuck in a specific sync-mode.


We believe it’s only a matter time until society organizes to dismantle the electoral space. There are, in fact, various initiatives underway with this purpose in mind.  We predict that only those who have understood the logic of distributed, networked processes of self-organisation and participation will succeed.




In a real stigmergic network, all tasks, all research, are done by the self-selected individuals most interested, motivated and capable.

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/KevinCarson1/status/593959286776016896


stream of consciousness:

good bye cycle

hello stigmergy

vulnerability in context

iterating detox


Heather Marsh