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I want you back, she said.

The process of natural selection hones our genetic material in a way that allows the emergence of new abilities, new designs and adaptations.

What do you mean you want me back? You have your man. You made your choice.

In the same way, within any complex system the ongoing interactions cause the emergence of unexpected features, new, higher levels of meaning that cannot be predicted from the properties of the parts.

Look, I know I made a mistake letting you go and now I want you back. I love you.

The human brain is one of the most complex systems known to man, it is estimated to contain around 10,000,000,000 neurons.

Just like that? You think you can make everything that has happened magically disappear by saying you love me?

Each of these is itself a cell, a highly complex system in its own right. The chief emergent property of the brain is awareness - of others, of self, of the future and the past.

Don't make this any harder than it already is, I thought you still loved me, I thought this is what you wanted.

In turn, the interplay of brains in social situations gives rise to yet higher levels of emergent properties, ones unpredictable in terms of any individual. This common feature of all emergent systems is often overlooked when plans are made. Novelty arises from new combinations of interactions, new ways of relating to each other and to the planet.

There was a time when I did want that. I would have done anything to have you back. But.. things are different now.

And thus we learn...