Post 121: The miracle of self-organising institutions

After my son had been going to school for about a month, it dawned on me that a primary school is an amazingly self-organising institution.

Before the school bell that starts the day, all you have is a bunch of kids milling about. Some are on the monkey bars, some are playing soccer. Others do all sorts of other stuff.

Then the bell goes and … zam! … this loose group of people self-organise into a school that has its different classes. A whole new set of rules about being quiet, attentive and respectful suddenly apply and hold sway until the end of the day. It is all essentially voluntary.

I’ve been thinking about this in terms of the federal election and the change of government, all of which seems to be more or less self-organising too. We vote, some nebulous numbers change and all sorts of people start behaving differently as a result.

From primary school to parliament, the same rules of voluntary consent seem to apply, in a weird sort of way.

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