The war in Ukraine, the inability of the world to sanction Russia effectively, the uneven distribution of medications, the uneven distribution of wealth, staples, education, wherever you look, there are growing gaps and growing instability in human society. Now let us look at nature. In nature, everything is balanced and harmonious, synchronized to the last detail.
There is a famous natural phenomenon called “spontaneous synchronization” that causes bodies in close proximity to synchronize their movements. Metronomes, for example, spontaneously synchronize their beats even if you deliberately start them at different times.
But spontaneous synchronization applies not only to pacemakers; it applies to all levels of reality. This is how award winning Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University Steven Strogatz explains the phenomenon (Min 10:09-10:37): “One of the things that I find most appealing about it is how universal it is, that it occurs at every scale of nature, from subatomic to cosmic. It uses every communication channel that nature has ever devised, from gravitational interactions, electrical interactions, chemical, mechanical, I mean you name it. Anyway that two things can influence each other, nature uses that to get things in sync.”
It seems like the only element in reality that “escapes” spontaneous synchronization is humanity. It is as if the rules that apply to all of nature do not apply to us.
To an extent, this is true. In addition to belonging to the animate level of life, we are also sentient beings, and our actions are determined by willful decisions. In order to synchronize our actions, we need to want it to happen. Otherwise, if we leave it to nature to decide, human nature, which is inherently self-centered, will override the system-centered nature of the rest of reality, and we will remain deeply discordant, and as a result, profoundly antagonistic to each other.
Over the past few years, the level of our alienation from each other has increased to a level that makes the possibility of another world war a realistic scenario. The only way to avoid it is to consciously and willfully adopt synchrony among us. What nature does spontaneously, we must do consciously and voluntarily.
There is a good reason for this. When we choose to follow a certain path, we do so after examining and evaluating all the options for and against it. If we behaved a certain way because we only followed our instincts, we would be animals not people. The difference between us and animals is that we think, debate, and question until we finally decide. As a result, the picture we see is more complete and deeper than any being in nature.
Yet, the price we pay for being sentient is often far too high. If we want to live in a peaceful world where people are wise and kind, we must make it happen. We must choose synchrony and harmony over friction and dissention. To do that, we must consciously raise the importance of synchrony in all of humanity.
Harmony and synchrony will not make us the same or even similar. Rather, they will make us harmonious and complementary. They will make us enjoy contributing our skills and abilities for the greater good, and together we will build a strong and solid society whose members are safe, healthy, and above all, happy.