I would really like to study the emergence of communist and anarchist groups towards the end of the 1920s in Russia or the appearance of these small groups right before the red revolution in every country that's had a communist experience. This need stems from the latest book I've been reading. If you believe, like me, that some fundamental laws lurk behind every system in the universe, "Linked : The new science of networks" will make you smile and awe alone during your reading hours in the subway.
At one moment, the writer, Albert-László Barabási, explains how atoms in matter, when transitioning from one phase to another (water turning into, say, ice), just before the change is finalized, right before the shift is done, can no longer be studied as individual atoms but should rather be studied as groups or boxes of "atoms" to which the same rules that apply to single atoms now apply, at that frontier between a phase and another, the limit between disorder and order.
And you can't help thinking about our networks when you read this: At the frontier of order and disorder, when our societies transition from a phase to another intermediately sink into chaos, just as they do before the country shift from a political regime to another, don't people have a tendency to group and create communities. And more importantly, according to which rules can we study these these communities ? Here's my take on this, in a very principle-stating version :
When approaching the vicinity of disorder (political, social or cultural revolutions), the members of a society often have similar ambitions, interests, goals, dreams and aspirations which translate into the formation of groups centered around these feelings. In other terms, the groups follow the same rules as the individuals because the one, just as the whole, share the same goal.
This idea actually stems from a 6-minute video by Derek Sivers and a fellow TEDxBeirut organizer's post (William Choukeir)
How to create a movement ? What defines a leader ? A leader cannot emerge, would not exist if not for his followers. A leader is the one who translates the followers' fears, dreams, ambitions and puts them into words, acts them out, shouts them in public. Hence the following, hence the movement.
What leads to the creation of groups then is not the leader, it is the pre-existence of a common feeling that needs to be expressed. That is what unites a movement. That's why a group is actually the scaling up of an individual.
So when major social, political or cultural shifts start being felt in society, when the shift from one order to another approaches, when the disorder that will happen in between looks clearer day after day, people's common emotions bring them together, bonds them together and amplify their impact because that is what groups are : boxes of atoms acting similarly to fight through the chaos.
They are individuals to the power 10, 100, 1000 ... Group on ! Fight through !