Plain Text for Self-Organisation Part-I

Gurzu Engineer

We try our best to get things done but sometimes, somehow things don’t get done or are even missed. Lifehackers, like you and us, are always looking for the best possible ways to boost our productivity and increase efficiency. Though being a Technician kind of person, we still have an Entrepreneur within us coming up with wonderful ideas for a startup in bed and then waking up to have it wiped clean from memory. Some of us are enthusiastic Entrepreneurs who have got ourselves into so many different things that we just can’t find the right balance not to miss the key activities for today. We also have Highly Rated Employees amongst us capable of producing dynamic impact in our workplace, who are expected to handle a plethora of activities at a time. One of us could be saying, “The day just goes by and I have so many things to do yet. I don’t know what I’ve done till now and what to do next though. Duh!!!”.

Wherever we are and whatever our profession is, amidst all the chaos we are always chasing that illusive work-life balance. What we are actually trying to accomplish is to change our ‘Delayed Environment’ to our ‘Immediate Environment’. A Delayed Environment is where we see ourselves in future whereas Immediate Environment is what we need to do today to get ourselves where we want. So, in successfully converting our Delayed Environment to our Immediate Environment, no matter how small the change might be or how slowly it might come, we get a sense of achievement and are able to understand the evolution of anxiety. This is exactly where we’ll need to organize ourselves to realize what we’ll need to do today to achieve what we want tomorrow.

Why Self-Organization?

By now you should have realized that there is no-one who knows what you want and how you can achieve it better than yourself. Hence, if you want to get there and achieve your goals then you need to start organizing yourself and thus the term Self-Organization. To fully grasp the concept of self-organization it is central to understand the complex systems that make up the world around us. Self-organization helps us find balance in chaos with a long term solution helping us to get things done in an efficient manner. This is made possible because you find techniques that precisely fit your need to increase productivity within your own constraints. You feel the sense of achievement by walking through each beautifully crafted step of success which you have created on your journey towards the ultimate goal. Once you are self-organized people start counting on you for being responsible, as they know that you will get a task done once you commit to it. Self-organization also helps you track your own progress and review your performance.

How does this happen?

The first thing to consider in self-organization is the amount of entropy/disorder within a system. In our case this can be seen as the huge number of tasks to get done. Once the entropy/disorder or tasks to get done reaches the highest point, the state is named Edge of Chaos , which is the farthest point from equilibrium. This is where we start to feel the frustration creep in and we pain to move forward. But this is also the exact point where any small fluctuation is capable of taking hold of the situation and creating a dynamic interplay between order and chaos. With the introduction of this small fluctuation in the system, this dynamic interplay gradually amplifies to form a new pattern of order within the system and hence, maintaining the equilibrium. In this mechanism of self-organization, I’d like to introduce “Plain-Text” as that small fluctuation which is capable of achieving that state of equilibrium.

What is Self-Organization?

Self-organization is a process created within a system when the entropy/disorder in that system is sufficient enough for small fluctuations to take hold and become amplified to form a new pattern of order. Hence, making the system to be in a state of equilibrium with dynamic interplay between order and chaos.

  • Idea of self-organization originated in around 1970 & 1980.
  • It suggests that 2nd Law of Thermodynamics may not be applicable for all systems which states:
    • The total entropy will always increase over time in an isolated system.
    • A system cannot spontaneously increase it’s order without external intervention.
  • A system should have sufficient entropy / disorder, Edge of Chaos, to begin self-organization.
  • Small fluctuations can be amplified through feedback loops to create a new pattern.
  • Emergence of order begins with dynamic interplay initiated by the small fluctuation.
  • Regenerate itself for a prolonged period of time through self-organization hence to form an equilibrium.