of Unison

Starlings

Many have experienced first-hand flocking birds moving in a state of utter unity. For those who haven’t, here’s what you missed.

This phenomena became the focus of numerous academic papers theorizing how and why this harmonious collective behavior occurs while other academics attempted to employ this concept in solving computational problems. Many do not attribute this behavior to a particular leader, or birds following a neighbor. Instead it is believed that each bird sees a movement down the line and anticipates what to do next.

I am not an expert on the topic, but I stumbled upon a video of a flock of ducks moving in what seems to be a rural road in an eastern country that sparked the following idea attempting to answer the ‘how’ question.

I believe that this behavior is due to the lack of ego in each active agent of this particular group. Therefore preventing this agent from contesting or going against the direction of its direct neighbor. This ego usually manifesting in human interactions by the need to lead, mostly reflected in teams lacking complementarity of skills, and attitude. Eventually leading to disorganization.

Within a flock, each agent follows, without questioning, as if they possess this ‘implicit’ understanding that the collective good is greater than the ambition of the one. That any misdeed befalling the group is equivalent in magnitude to the misdeed befalling the one.

In other words, I attribute this behavior to the lack or suppression of a conscious ‘need’ to lead.

I might be completely wrong, given that this is a mere assumption based on a very shallow observation. However, I believe there is some form of wisdom to be acquired from these creatures who we, human beings, deem primitive.