Conformism

© Riccardo Manzotti, Milan, October 2017.
For any question, please write to riccardo.manzotti@gmail.com.

If you place next to each other a series of metronomes on a surface not perfectly rigid and they start at random times, after a short while, they will perfectly synchronize (you can get a nice description of the real case here). Yet, while this phenomenon has often been presented as a case or order emerging out of disorder, I don't believe it is. Rather it shows the power of conformism. In fact the synchronized case is the one where each of the metronomes has to spend as little energy as possible to move because its movements are no longer contrasted by the influence of other metronomes. In plain English, moving together is the easiest way. Is it a good metaphor for conformist thinking? Isn't thinking like everybody else just easier? I believe so. Below there are various version of the same gif. As you can see, the more units are involved, the faster and more effective a conformist behavior takes over. So much the worse for the originality of individuals.

10x10 grid

50x50 grid

10000x1000 grid

10.000x10.000 grid

Riccardo Manzotti, www.consciousness.it, October 2017, Lavagna.