“It’s not magic, but it feels like magic.”

— Doyne Farmer, Everyday Examples of Emergence


Hello! My name is Les. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything all that exciting to tell you about myself. But you can reach me at emergent.cognition@gmail.com if you are so inspired.

At this point, the Emergent Cognition Project is essentially a gallery of ideas about emergence, cognition, and design based on a framework I began developing as a graduate student at Northwestern University in 2009. The core premise – that cognition involves emergent levels of increasingly complex representation – is informed by work on emergent complexity and levels (Wilensky & Resnick, 1999), levels of emotional design (Ortony, Norman & Revelle, 2005), and levels of reference and representation (Deacon, 1997). It suggests new ways of thinking about the relationship of body, heart, mind, and spirit.

This work is dedicated to all the wonderfully beautiful, brilliant, wild, broken, weird people I have been blessed to know and all the ways – both small and great – they have made my world a better place. It is my humble (yet characteristically overly complicated) attempt to try to return the favor.