saw them hurrying from either side
and each shade kissed another, without pausing,
Each by the briefest society satisfied.
(Ants, in their dark ranks, meet exactly so,
rubbing each other’s noses, to ask perhaps
What luck they’ve had, or which way they should go.)
— Dante, Purgatorio, Canto XXVI
Before I went back to grad school, I had been studying self organization [...]