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Society as Living and Rational System

Modern society is in a process of creation of social self-consciousness, which will replace currently domination of political social consciousness and reshape society in unpredictable way

Any self-organised formation can be defined as system. Best example is Universe. Starting with Big Bang as chaos of particles it gradually formed Galaxies and Solar systems. For 3.5 bn years the planet Earth, through self-organisation of “chemical soup” created most primitive living organisms. They can be considered as living systems. So, physical form of self-organisation “grows up” to biological form of self-organisation, i.e. inanimate matter created animate matter, which in fact is appearance of Biological Evolution. The living systems are self-reproductive, i.e. self-organisation reaches a level of self-reproduction. Therefore the biological evolution is a new; more complex form of self-organisation. For about another 3.5 bn years the simple forms of live developed: nerve system, central nerve system and eventually human mind. This is new turning point of self-organisation – emergence of rational systems and fundamentally different form of self-organisation – Social Evolution. There are only two such systems – human being as individual and society as a group of individuals. Both systems have a mind & reason, respectively – individual and social consciousness.

The core of self-organisation is information, which is fundamental property of matter on same status as motion, space and time. In fact evolution at al levels: physical, biological and social is an evolution of information, from pattern to gene and from gene to knowledge. The knowledge is consciousness information. The engine of society is verification of knowledge.

Most amazing, incredible and intriguing thing of self-organization and evolution in general is that there is no need of creator, intelligent designer or whatsoever. It is simply moving matter and self-organized information, which create marvellous structures called: Universe, living and rational systems. Only time scale is incomprehensible for our mind.   

Social being and Social consciousness

As a living and rational system society contain two sub-systems – social being and social consciousness. Social being is “living” part of society, representing “physiology” of the system and securing physical survival of society – economy.  Social consciousness represents reason and social mind. It is the “contents” of information: believes, myths, aesthetical views, religion ideas, philosophy, science, moral values etc. Both sub-systems are interconnected with multiple positive – and negative feedbacks. Understandably they evolve in parallel passing through several levels of increased complexity known as socio-economic systems (slavery, feudalism and capitalism) and dominated form of social consciousness (mythological consciousness, religious consciousness (polytheism & monotheism), political consciousness. The parallel and interconnections between evolutions of both sub-systems is obvious.

The mechanism of Social Evolution is very simple. It is a string of repeated cycles started with idea generated in right times and finished with destruction (negation) of this idea. However this controversial process brings society to new level of complexity. The cycle of development passes trough eight critical changes:

  1. Emergence of radical new ideas. New ideas appear in times of perils. They are fundamentally new approach offering non-standard solution of currently ongoing social situation. The ideas come from freethinkers and “critical mass” of very few people planted these ideas in the public domain triggering changes in the social consciousness.
  2. Institutionalisation of the idea. At certain level of development the new ideas are institutionalised. It makes the ideas structure determinated factor, therefore extremely powerful tool for social changes.
  3. Creation of Hierarchy. The institutionalisation creates hierarchical structure of official institutions and officials, opening door for “practical” people who joint the movement because of offered opportunities. This is subjective process of recruitment of decision-makers or ruling elite.
  4. Changes in social being. Newly created social environment change social being (economy, welfare etc.) according to the vision of ruling elite, changing society accordingly.
  5. Corruption of institutions and officials. Due to emerging contradictions and conflict of interests, officials and decision-makers become corrupted servicing their own interest instead the system as a whole.
  6. Self-protection. To secure and prolong its privileges, the ruling elites set up special institutions to control the rest of society.
  7. Downfall. The created hierarchy and decisions made in favour of ruling elite, lead to corruption, which undermine moral values and sooner or later trigger process of self-destruction (negation) of this idea. Entire socio-economic system is under treat and the resistance of ruling elite for radical changes plunge society into “dark ages”.
  8. Transition to new social system. Newly achieved complexity of society insists new more adequate decision-making mechanism, economy and moral values. Society needs new ideas to motivate social consciousness for qualitative (revolutionary) changes. However those times of perils provoke new ideas and new cycle is going to start again. Eventually the existed hierarchy has been destroyed and new economy, moral values and decision-making mechanism established.

The first stage present changes in social consciousness and can be defined as Cultural Revolution. The second change is revolution in social being. The rest of changes are lifespan, boom and bust of newly created stage of Social Evolution. This cycle could be monitored again and again throughout history.

Emerging and downfall of Christianity is an example for replacement of polytheism with monotheism. This is Cultural Revolution, because lead to qualitative changes in social consciousness, which thereafter lead to Economic Revolution or replacement of slavery with feudalism. Not surprisingly Church as Institution becomes corrupted; created Sent Inquisition to protect its integrity and eventually plunged society into dark ages.

Emerging and downfall of nowadays Financial Capitalism is an example of transition from money-driven to moral based society. The capitalism started with Cultural Revolution or changes in social consciousness during Italian Renaissance passed trough period of French Enlightenment, which transformed dominated monotheistic social consciousness with secular or to be more precise with domination of political social consciousness. Newly emerged social consciousness initiate Economic Revolution, which eventually replaced land based economic system (feudalism) with money based economic system (capitalism). Political social consciousness also re-invented democracy as completely different decision-making mechanism, compare with long-lasted autocracy. In that way the process of institutionalisation was completed. During the last two hundred years the capitalism created hierarchy of self-made capitalists, which gradually turned into hierarchy of money-masters. This hierarchy steadily monopolize decision-making mechanism destroying democracy, restricted social liberties and plunge society into nowadays political mess and uncertainty, which perhaps one day will be considered as “political dark ages”. Such a downfall is not surprising, because modern social consciousness is obsessed of money as medieval consciousness was obsessed with Havens.

Appearance and downfall of communism and fascism are very edifying examples of unsuccessful attempt to reshape existed socio-economic system with pre-designed men-made models. They both passed trough above mentioned cycle of changes, created hierarchy of party’s bureaucrats   and collapsed infamously, simply because socio-economic systems are result of objective process of accumulation and verification of knowledge; they are very complex strictures and cannot be pre-designed by human mind, according to assumed principles as economic equality or national superiority.[1]

It is important to comprehend that as a system society cannot be artificially pre-designed and any such attempt is doomed and with terrible consequences for society. The subjective factor including ruling elite could make numerous of quantitative changes, but qualitative leaps to new socio-economic system is prerogative of objective laws. Therefore the artificially designed New World Order, which nowadays politicians and power elite offer as solution of emerging global problems is simply impossible to be implemented.

As was mentioned above there are only two rational systems – human being and society, respectively – individual consciousness and social consciousness. Apparently same similarities between both forms of consciousness are very likely to exist. There are some evidences about symmetry between phylogenesis and ontogenesis. According to Ernst Haeckel, the ontogenesis is a brief and rapid recapitulation of the phylogenesis. [2] Dr. Spock also said: “Each child as he develops is retracing the whole history of mankind, physically and spiritually, step by step. A baby starts off in the womb as a single tiny cell, just the way the first living thing appeared in the ocean. Weeks later, as he lies in the amniotic fluid of the womb, he has gills like a fish”.[3] So if such similarities exist for physiological development this law of evolution could be expected for psychological development of both rational systems as well. For instance Ken Wilber in his book, A Brief History of Everything, suggests that cultures evolved consciousness following a similar path that children mature through, from magical thinking to mythical and ultimately objective thinking, and for some, holistic thought.[4]

In fact similarities between individual and social consciousness are overwhelming: perceptions, emotions, memory, thinking, behaviour, even pathologies are comparable. [5] Keeping in mind emergence and development of individual consciousness it is possible to predict with high degree of probability the next level of evolution of social consciousness. This upcoming step is –

Emergence of social self-consciousness and transition of society from “puberty to adulthood”

So far social consciousness evolved from: mythological, religious (polytheism & monotheism) and nowadays dominated political social consciousness.

Those levels of development resemble emergence and development of individual consciousness up to emergence of individual self-consciousness during late teens. The self-consciousness or “knowing yourself” is a crucial and critical period of transition from puberty to adulthood. Recently emergence of social self-consciousness or understanding that we are all in one boat and society is a single organism is a sign this process is already underway. The engine of this process is Globalisation of society especially during last few decades.

If emergence of social self-consciousness is comparable with the emergence of individual self-consciousness, this comparison could produce a rough idea about the “age” of our society. Recently the emerged global self-consciousness is a sign of transition from youth to mature age; hence our civilization is still in its “teens”. This means humanity is in the middle of the road of its evolution, still very young and there are plenty to explore ahead. This is also qualitative leap in social evolution and can be considered as Cultural Revolution which inevitably will lead to dramatic changes in social being as sub-system.

Perhaps most important upcoming change is replacement of money with knowledge as fundamental values. This seems understandable. Money is a bloodstream of economy and base of capitalism as economic system. However knowledge is the bloodstream of society as a whole, i.e. bloodstream for both sub-systems, therefore more important for sustainable development and surviving of society compare with money.

The second crucial change is adopting of new decision-making mechanism. Democracy, general election and voting system on all levels is a collective decision-making mechanism. It works satisfactory today, for resolving relatively simple national and regional problems, but will be insufficient in resolving global problems. This is so, because global problems are very complex, few people have sufficient knowledge to comprehend and make decisions. Global problems are like scientific problems, which are solved by verification of hypothesis. Apparently voting system in such situations is meaningless. Most likely social self-consciousness will form something as

Virtual brain and Global mind

Imagine a network of experts related to one particular problem across the globe, collaborating in an attempt to elaborate solution in form of hypothesis, which will be tested in real life to proof its validity. This job actually is very similar to collaboration of several authors in writing an article in Wikipedia or another wiki site. Apparently any particular problem will form a specific network of experts contributing to find right solution. The experts will act as “brain cells” and created networks will resemble something as virtual brain. The function of this virtual mind could be considered as Global mind.

The virtual brain and global mind is collaborative decision-making mechanism which exclude voting system by definition. It is next and higher level of democracy, because all decisions will be made in favour of society as a whole not particular privileged group of people. Emergence of virtual brain and global mind is embodiment of social self-consciousness into society as a single organism. It is Cultural Revolution, which inevitably will result in dramatic changes in both sub-systems of society. Nobody could predict how future society will look like and how will work, because the future of society will entirely depend on solutions made by global mind.

Notes

  1. No doubt if Germany was succeeded to wine WWII, the fascism would collapse thereafter as communism did due to same reasons.
  2. Ernst Haeckel, Riddle of the Universe at the Close of the Nineteenth Century. 1899.
  3. Dr. Benjamin Spock, Baby and Child Care, 1957, p. 223.
  4. Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, pp 330, Shambhala; 2 edition, 2001.
  5. A new interdisciplinary formal science “Social Psychopathology” is needed to research pathological deviation of social consciousness.
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February 1, 2010 - Posted by | Society | , , , , ,

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