Sunday, February 1, 2015

flocking

When I experience the flocking patterns of birds and fish, I am overcome by a reverent quiet and humility.  There is no leader, no overall control, no bickering or obvious negotiations; instead the flock's movements reflect trust and a collective response to the moment-by-moment navigation's of individual birds as they interact with: neighbors, wind patterns, predators and more.
There is trust in the flock and the physics of flight.  Research illustrates that these "flocking waves" respond to movement initiations from birds that bank into the flock, rather than away from it. Turning away toward isolation makes the individual more vulnerable, this rule also helps prevent indecision and permits the flock to respond rapidly to threat. 
An obvious overlap exists between flocking behavior and Vygotsky's social constructivist theory, often called social constructivism. For Vygotsky, culture provides the child with cognitive tools necessary for development and adults serve as conduits for these tools, including language, cultural history, social context, and norms, etc.  Thus human learning is, in part, a kind of social flocking, guided by social/cultural evolutions and norms. Throughout my studies I have always wanted to expand these theories beyond their human-only context.  Look around us, what if we were to embrace a natural constructivist theory?  What if we saw ourselves as intimately connected with life itself and opened our institutions, theories and practice to the real possibility that we belong to a larger whole and that larger whole has the capacity to revolutionize our approach to learning, cognitive development, social/emotional interaction, commerce and so much more.
When I stare in wonder at the dance of birds in collective flight, I feel my perceived isolation acutely.  I feel the ridiculousness of our Western pursuit for independence, self preservation and autonomy.  I feel a deep longing for intimate union in/as/with life... of which I am intimately a part  


"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

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