The bat and the perfect swarm

Jim Moore at Dean for America wrote on his personal weblog about the bat that is bringing in lots of donations today.

You decide as a individual to make a contribution.

And then about mid day–or perhaps later–you realise that you have been part of an historic event–a “perfect swarm.” For most people, this will be a surprising and gratifying discovery. You realize that thousands of other individuals made a similar commitment at the same time. It feels a bit uncanny.

What is going on? Swarm power, emergence, something larger than ourselves. Here is a fun thing to do: Take a large crowd–perhaps you are giving a speech–and ask them to clap together to an aligned beat. But don’t give them a lead beat. Just ask the crowd to find a beat, by paying attention to their neighbors, and syncing up as they can. I’ve done this dozens of times, and the amazing thing is how fast a group can come together when it wants to.