If one thing makes you think of another thing, you form a connection between them in your mind. The more connections you have, the better access you have to cross-connections. The more things something can remind you of, the more you know about it, or are learning about it.
I485/I585: Self-Organization and Emergent Complex Behavior: "by luis m. rocha
Lecture notes for I485/I585/I601 - : Biologically Inspired Computing. School of Informatics, Indiana University. Also available in adobe acrobat pdf format
Self-organization is usually understood as the process by which systems of many components tend to reach a particular state, a set of cycling states, or a small volume of their state space (attractor basins), with no external interference. This attractor behavior is often recognized at a different level of observation as the spontaneous formation of well-organized structures, patterns, or behaviors, from random initial conditions (emergent behavior). The systems used to study this behavior are referred to as dynamical systems or state-determined systems, since every trajectory is perfectly determined by its initial state. Dynamical systems are traditionally studied by continuous variables and sets of discrete-time difference equations (such as the logistic map) or continuous-time differential equations (such as models of the motion of bodies under gravitational forces). However, self-organization is more easily studied computationally with discrete dynamical systems (DDS) such as Boolean networks or cellular automata"