more thinking: emergence, spontaneity, randomness, and impulsivity16 Feb 2023
back in 2020, i wrote about the difference between emergence and spontaneity. since then, i’ve thought about these two ideas a bit more and two other words have come into my thinking: randomness and impulsivity.
here are my personal definitions of these words. they’re informed by the definitions of others but definitely my own. i’m also defining them each narrowly in the context of people taking actions. there are ways these terms can apply to groups and non-actions, but that’s just not what i’m talking about here:
- impulsivity: action taken that is largely motivated by internal forces. often impulsive action is made with very little thought and rarely takes consequences into account.
- spontaneous: action taken that is partly impulsive but aligned with intuition or an external (and vision or value aligned) context or circumstance
- random: action that happens without a clear tied to internal or external motivators or circumstances
- emergence: the collective patterns that arise when many entities interact as a whole.
phew! there’s more to say about these but for now i gotta get the rest of my morning routine moving! part 2 coming soon… or someday… i hope… 😮💨
ps - this post was inspired by two different conversations, one with nisha, and one with david. thanks for your thought and convo partnership. :)
some resources i’ve read/skimmed on spontaneous vs impulsive:
- vox: Go ahead, be a little spontaneous
- chadd: Spontaneous or Impulsive? How to Know, What to Do
- quora: What is the difference between “spontaneous” and “impulsive”?
words / writing / post-processing
255w / 12min / 4min