Unkown Blogger Pursues a Deranged Quest for Normalcy

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Posted by ubpdqn on December 13, 2010

The Albert-László Barabási  book  Linked  is getting old but remains a stimulating read. The apparent universality of scale-free networks in the complex networks from our cells, between ourselves and between collectives of  corporations and our tangible and intangible creations (language, internet, world-wide web, etc) is interesting.

As the unknown blogger contemplates the various networks  that are resident within and in which the blogger resides, a certain stark reality presents itself.

The unknown blogger is not a hub (a highly connected node) in any network. He is one of the many (majority) nodes of small degree.  Abraham Lincoln exhorted,’God loves the common man, that’s why he made so many’, so it is with we small nodes. Random loss of such small nodes does not perturb the complex networks. 

Unimportance at one level or in one context is not necessarily a cause for despair, even though the unknown blogger is prone to such conclusions.  Network theory provides insights into global properties and dynamics of complex connected systems. It is a very useful abstraction that helps us understand properties of such systems that arise entirely from attributes such as growth, preferential attachment, node fitness etc without the paritcular more complex features (the details) of the nodes. However, as Barabási  comments, this provides the map and some global rules or laws…the devil or God (depending on your perspective) is in the detail.

The detail is what provides the meaning, the color, the  challenge and the pain in our lives.

Further, despite in general being  a non-descript node in the vast majority of networks that intersect with unknown blogger, the particular node contruct only captures attributes (defined by the network of interest) of the whole. We are more than nodes in networks. 

Perhaps, contrary  to the absolute statement above,  the blogger  is a node  in other subtle (but perhaps more important)  networks where the node degree is hub-like…you never know…


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