The Complexity of Reciprocity

EveningAnother very warm day. The snow we had Tuesday night is rapidly melting. Here at the mid-latitudes climate change proceeds at a fast pace.

I’ve been thinking about the negative tilt that can occur with reciprocity. Reciprocity refers to the tendency for systems to co-evolve, and is usually used to describe  small-scale human interactions that build mutual trust and interdependence. It is a strong attractor resulting in social cohesion. Continue reading


EveningIt’s late afternoon on a Tuesday, a gray, murky, fiercely windy day, shortly before sunset. The aforementioned wind is howling, scouring the deep cold from the valley. I’m listening to a choral concert for Epiphany on BBC3. It’s been a day of cancellations, mostly due to illness of one sort or another; it seems to be that time of year.

Epiphany was last Saturday, and marks the arrival of the wise men and prefigures the exodus of the Holy Family to Egypt. There are reversals and misrule aplenty in this day. For one, three kings or wise men arrive at a manger and give gifts of great value to the newborn and his family, folk of low stature. Then, not long after the wise men dream that they should quietly return home, telling no one of the miraculous events they have witnessed, and wisely do so. The baby’s small family packs up and wisely heads for Egypt, a former place of slavery. Continue reading