Murmuration, Part 2

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How can a group of birds, flying en masse, so closely resemble the shifting forms of a wave?

And if this beautiful phenomenon is a fact of our world, what does it mean?

Sometimes I suspect that certain forms, certain shapes, are strange attractors in space and time. That the shapes characteristic of fluid dynamics are found in water and wind and flocks of birds because small things, moving together in accordance with a few local rules, are and always will be drawn to make them. That when Homo sapiens branched off from Homo erectus and developed longer legs and a more upright head, it was, in part, because our species was drawn into the spiral of the Golden Mean, Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.

Also, like most writers, I’m fond of the different names given to groups of different animals. How lovely that a group of starlings arrayed in flight is not a flock but a murmuration, for the sound of their wings.

A whisper, maybe, of our collective potential.

Poetic Murmuration of Birds

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I never stop being fascinated form and pattern in nature, the phenomenon of entrainment in particular. How do individuals acting on a few local cues create such fascinating forms of emergent order?

The collective actions of ants, birds, fish, and human beings, I believe, exhibit patterns that are smarter and more beautiful than those of any single individual.

So here’s a meditation for the political season, when we seek to coalesce, to make new patterns, turning individual actions into collective ones, for the good of the whole. May all beings be free from suffering.

Murmuration of BirdsPoetic Murmuration of Birds in the Netherlands (by Herbert Schroer)

Posted by Fubiz on Monday, February 1, 2016



I’m going through some changes.

My web presence in particular.

After years of inconsistent blogging at, I’ve decided to try my hand at something that feels less like work and more like play. I’ve decided to call that something The Big Idea.

Stay tuned for details!