Archive for emergence

Introduction to Magic in The Middle – Part One

By Finn Voldtofte, 2005

The magic in the middle begins with a shift in awareness, from parts to relations between parts.

Imagine a circle of people in conversation. When we are interested in understanding the processes that take place in the conversation, we can pay attention to the individual in the circle, to the circle as a whole (group or team), or to the relations between the participants. All three realities coexist at once, but we can choose to let one of them come in the foreground.

To pay attention to the field of relations is not the same as paying attention to the whole. The parts are still important. The whole is still important. But we are particularly interested in what goes on in the interaction between the parts, and let that reality come in the foreground.

“Magic in the middle” may be found everywhere, where we choose to pay attention to the relations between the parts.

Example: Ants are the parts. The anthill is the whole. The ability of the anthill to maintain itself emerges as a magic in the middle of the ants, when they relate to each other. For instance, ants interact by leaving scent trails of their activity while they search for food.

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