Let’s face it, chaos is a pretty bad state to be in. The good news is that it is a temporary state, a transitional phase that sometimes emerges when a system radically changes. Quickly, within hours and days in the case of regime change, a new pattern will emerge.
But, how to make that pattern a good pattern? And how will it emerge?
The fun thing about the type of complex system in a regime change is that you have an excited mass (network scientists might call the people ‘nodes’ – ) that is actually looking to somehow aggregate together, to cluster. But around what?
Initially in these leaderless revolutions, the ones we are seeing in Egypt and Tunisia, they cluster around a concept (“the leader must go”) and a physical place (e.g. Tahir Square in Cairo). For humans, though, we actually would prefer to follow a person. And if we cannot follow a specifc person, we would like to follow the followers of that person (and so on ).
Therefore in this leaderless vacuum, one or more leaders will emerge. It is a necessary outcome of the complex system. One question will be ‘who’, and a potentially more interesting question (for those who like depth, or fancy themselves or a friend for the job) is “how do they emerge”. As I believe it is hard, necessarily so at this stage (3 Feb) to work out who the named individuals will be, let’s concentrate instead on how leaders will emerge.
To create a leader in this situation, you need a hero. Think (sorry) of Boris Yeltsin riding a tank to defend against the attempted coup in Russia on 19 Aug, 1991.
Think Lech Walesa in Poland who was one of the most active strikers in the Gdansk shipyard, jumping over fences first to (foolishly) lead the way for the rest of the strikers.
Heroes are easy to come by. In fact, there are probably lots that already exist.
If I were in Egypt right now, and I was either a hero, or I knew one, I would be doing everything I could to find a Western journalist or an Al-Jazerra one, pronto. This is a first-mover advantage ploy. If you do not see anything yet, I’d suggest that you – or someone you know – should be a hero (if you think you have the guts, for the initiation by fire, or the after-shock of things potentially working).
… Part 1… more to follow