That we are, without a doubt. The Australian polity, that is. Not sure about Abbott’s hope for a gentler polity, but events of these last few weeks have shown we are at least as smart as slime mold.
And why not? We are also a self-organising organic entity, and our emergent behaviour suits me just fine. Every few months an article appears about research on slime mold, and how they can design the road system of the UK without even trying. I’m impressed, but even more impressed with the way our politics seem to be moving, (slower than a slime mold, but still) in the direction of more sensible consensus. It’s an amazing thing to behold, and it does give one hope.
The latest polls show a preference for Gillard, by a whisker. No one wants another election, so that is the equivalent of the slime mold avoiding a toxic food source. Isn’t it wonderful to see a complex adaptive system operating in the widest social sphere?
There is also a perceptible lurch towards a carbon tax, and that would make all the mess with the failed (and non-optimal) Emissions Trading Scheme worth the bother. There isn’t any more time to dither, and the sooner we grasp this nettle, the less it will hurt.
The Independents want a better deal for the bush: broadband, hospitals, some dental care. Yes, please, this is what green slime mold like me have been yearning for. Above all, I drool green slime at the prospect of procedural reform.
The other green organism, the Greens, have managed a historic deal with the ALP in an agreement that is a fractal echo of the one the ACT Greens signed with the Canberra ALP a few years back. The federal agreement reinforces the call of the independents for parliamentary reform, greater transparency and accountabilty, and addressing climate change.
This is just logical groping towards mutually beneficial goals: we need to reform governance, and we need to look after our land and food suppliers, while also addressing the root causes of climate change. We can’t stop it, not little ol OZ by itself, but by golly we can build resilience to adapt.
And that starts with reforming how our parliament works. A convenient, but really quite obvious convergence between the Greens and the independents. Let’s face it, if the Nationals hadn’t let them down for years, they wouldn’t have jumped ship. And if the ALP had faced up to the way their preferences were quietly slipping away (in slime moldy fashion) to the Greens, they wouldn’t have lost control of the Senate.
So we might just come out of this stronger, wiser, and more democratic. We’ve had a little bifurcation, and now we’re forming a new attractor. I’m excited.