Educational Manga: Explore Emergence

Read educational manga and learn about emergence and what it means to take an emergent perspective. Explore The Emergent Universe, an online interactive science museum.

The Rebels of Complexity

In a Battle for a Better World

Frame 1


Foreground: Our heroes, Keiko and Yuki, stand at a table in animated discussion, looking frustrated and concerned.

Background: Scene from Ai showing slums, pollution, global warming, etc.


The Rebels of Complexity, Keiko and Yuki, at their headquarters in the Land of Ai.


KEIKO: Just look at all these tragedies Yuki.

Frame 2


Yuki turns his attention to a TV set showing Quark giving a speech, speaks with frustration/disappointment.

Text runs along bottom of TV screen.


Today’s press conference with President Quark


YUKI: And Quark doesn’t seem able to solve them…

Frame 3


Keiko looks concerned, speaks.

Then Yuki pulls a book labeled ‘History’ off a shelf.


KEIKO: so what can we do??

Frame 4


Pages flipping.

Yuki then holds book open to a page illustrating a traditional Japanese pagoda and wise man. Text is caption in book.


Long ago the Land of Ai was ruled by the Externalist Empire.

Frame 5


Keiko turns a page, points to a new page showing calligraphy on an ancient scroll (see text). Keiko has an “a-ha” look.

Externalist Tenets

KEIKO: Yuki! This explains why the Externalist Empire was a monarchy!

Frame 6


Yuki’s face, in foreground, looks excited. Behind her is an image in the history book of samurai bowing before a throne.


YUKI: Right. They believed the king’s global overview of society would show him how best to fix it, and that his power would allow him to impose changes from above.

Frame 7


Foreground – Keiko’s sad eyes in dark

Background (should appear to be images from Keiko’s thoughts)– Japanese grave stones, both Shinto and Buddhist, closely packed.


KEIKO: Hmmm….observation of the whole seems important, but the Externalists really failed…

Frame 8


Yuki flips book pages. He points to a page we can’t see yet.


YUKI: No Kidding! (pages flip) Look! There’s Quark.

Frame 9


Book page showing Quark shaking fist and orating in front of a large crowd.


“Overthrow the Externalists!! Their view is wrong!”

Crowd: sounds of agreement

Frame 10

Image (still in book):

Close up of Quark, as if zoomed in to previous frame. Quark looks imploring.


Q: To solve Ai’s problems, we must look underneath the surface to find their true origins!!

Frame 11

Image (still in book):

Swordfighting battle.



Frame 12

Image (still in book):

Quark raises a victory flag


Quark’s forces defeated the Externalists

Frame 13


Quark narrating over background scenes:

  1. psychiatrist and patient
  2. scientific laboratory scene


To understand the whole, we must examine the most fundamental parts.

  1. Social Ills? Study the psychology of each individual.
  2. Disease? Study the fundamental building blocks of matter – molecules, atoms, quarks…

Frame 14


Yuki slams history book shut. Molecular images float behind Keiko’s list.


KEIKO: OK, I’ll admit, Quark had a really good point. Looking small has given us a lot: DNA forensic testing, the genetic code, medical imaging, transistors, water quality analysis…

Y(interrupting): Sure, but understanding quarks alone is not going to solve global warming!

Frame 15


Keiko holds up a ball bearing, taps it on the table.


KEIKO: And Quark was wrong about one thing – the parts alone can’t explain the whole.

See this ball bearing. It’s clearly a solid, right? [sound effect: “tap, tap”]

Frame 16


Keiko pours ball bearings out of a glass jar.


KEIKO: But when I have lots of them, they act like a liquid. [sound effect: “pshhhhh”]

YUKI: So…more IS different!!

Frame 17


Keiko and Yuki engaged in an excited discussion. Then Keiko throws a ninja star that hits a picture on the wall, making a mouse pointer appear over it.

(mouse pointer and text will be colored, and will change button state on mouse over, so visitor will recognize this as an activity link.)


KEIKO: That means what’s important isn’t just the parts

YUKI: like Quark believed

KEIKO: OR just the whole

YUKI: like the Externalists believed

KEIKO: But the connections between them!!

Text (appears with pointer on picture frame):

It’s All about ZOOM

Visitor has option to link to “Pointillism” activity.

Frame 18


Keiko is jumping with excitement, then gives Yuki a high-five.


KEIKO: Yuki! This Zoom thing – it’s given me an idea! We need a whole new world view!

YUKI: Right! One recognizing that it’s the interactions between parts – at different magnifications (zooms) – that give rise to behaviors of the whole.

KEIKO: Exactly! And to solve real problems we’ve got to understand these connections between the parts and the whole!

Frame 19


Yuki’s opens a Laptop. The screen shows a cityscape pattern. Yuki moves the cursor over a link for this pattern. (link is colored and will have a state change on mouse over to indicate it is a real activity link.)


KEIKO: But what about the Externalist’s idea that organization requires a leader?

YUKI: Hey, check this out…I wonder who the artist is… [sound effect: “click”]

Visitor has option to link to “Cities” activity.

Frame 20


Keiko and Yuki huddle over the computer.

Laptop screen shows a Game of Life pattern. Cursor moves over a link for this pattern. (link is colored and will have a state change on mouse over to indicate it is a real activity link.)


KEIKO: Wow! There wasn’t any artist! That was created from a simple set of rules.

YUKI: So maybe organization can arise even without a leader. Let’s check this out and see.

Visitor has option to link to “Life” activity.

Frame 21


Keiko and Yuki involved in a “Eureka!” dialog. Then Keiko points to a zoom slider on Yuki’s computer, which is showing an image of [what, a weather map? The world?].


KEIKO: Wow! Organized behavior can emerge from simple interactions between many parts.

YUKI: Even with NO leader!

KEIKO: So to cope with real problems like global warming ... we’re going to have to zoom in and study them at different magnifications.

YUKI: Right! So we can learn how these phenomena emerge from the interactions between parts.

KEIKO: And then we’ll be able to find the best way to create change – by influencing the parts or the whole or both.

Frame 22


Keiko’s and Yuki’s blinking eyes in the dark with expressions of surprise and concentration.

Small iconic images accompany each list.


KEIKO: Hey! This emergent perspective could provide a whole new way of looking at the world!

YUKI: Just think – how would it apply to government, or economics, or art?

KEIKO: Or what about traffic, or weather, or the spread of disease?

YUKI: Or neurobiology, or superconductors?

Frame 23


Foreground, part of Yuki’s head in silhouette.

Background, part of the image of Ai’s problems from frame 1, faded out.


YUKI: I bet this new world view could help us solve the REAL problems we have here in Ai.

Frame 24


Keiko and Yuki handing out leaflets. One leaflet prominent in front so headlines can be read.

Leaflet text:

Help Save Ai!!
Join us in creating
that goes beyond Quark &


Do you think Keiko and Yuki are on the right track? Would you join their grass-roots efforts to change Quark’s government?

How does an emergent world view compare with your own world view?

Do you think holding an emergent world view can help us to solve our world’s most complex problems?

Do you see any parallels between the historical evolution of Western world views in our own world and the evolution of views in Ai?