The Next Step
Consider what we have accomplished thus far. Evolution is the primary force for change in the universe. Like its cousin, entropy, it is fundamental, endemic. Without it the universe would not be. It is complex. It consists of complex organizations of natural laws. The history of evolution has been a story of gradual inexorable increases in complexity. With the advent of man a dramatic shift has taken place. The organization of physical laws has reached a new level of programming where the object has assumed the role of the programmer. However, in assuming it, it has inherited total responsibility for future change. This means that human beings are subject to only two kinds of laws, the physical laws of the universe, and the legal and moral laws they construct to legislate the future of themselves and the universe in which they exist. Legal and moral institutions are social systems developed by the very human beings who will be legislated by them. Their validity is determined by their success as understood by those who both develop them and are regulated by them. It is necessary, therefore, that each member of the society accept personal responsibility for every effect the system has on all of the members of the society.
Evolution, of course, continues on at every level of complexity. Stars still cook large atoms in their interior and explode to scatter them through space, complex molecules still aggregate to form new organic entities, and living things still evolve in their battle for survival. The emergence of any object in the universe is accompanied by the the appearance of complex hierarchical constraints that freeze that object into existence. Those hierarchical constraints for objects up to the level of complexity that is man are organizations of natural laws. All objects above that level are either created by human manipulation of natural laws or by what we call complex hierarchical reflexivity. More simply put, organizations developed by humans maintain that their hegemony through their usefulness to the men who use them. To repeat, the purpose of evolution is to make it possible for anything that is possible to have the opportunity to exist. The important point is that man must create, man must choose. Even not choosing is a choice. Objects developed through the organization of natural laws come into existence automatically when the conditions are right. Objects developed by man are chosen to exist thorough the action of men. Because men live in the panorama of time they become aware of the consequences of their choices. They can develop expectations of the future as modified by their choices. However, a cursory examination of the history of man brings out one important point. Not everything that can be should be. There are actions that should not be chosen, objects that should not be brought into being. Because only man is free, only man carries this burden of responsibility.
Though man carries the responsibility for the effects of those evolutionary changes he participates in, he does not have the power to stop them or modify their speed. It is much like being on a speeding train on a track into the unknown without a throttle. He can only modify local events. However, he has an awesome tool at his disposal, his mind, and in that mind his self, and the panorama of time. Both of these are social structures, and as we have seen social structures are tools that men create to help them accomplish goals they find important.
Is the mind a part of the body, a section of the brain perhaps? Suppose you are playing a game on your computer complete with its own universe, characters, equipment. Where is this universe? In the computer? Not really, the computer is nothing but an arrangement of gates, memory cells, and peripherals. It does not contain any universes. In the program? Not really, the program is nothing but a list of instructions for the central processing unit. Does the universe come into being when you run the program? No, the program merely presents a sequences of images on the screen determined by the program instructions and the inputs from your keyboard, mouse and joy stick. Each of these images appears on the screen momentarily and then disappears. There is no whole. The universe, to the extent the programmer has done his job, has been created in your mind. Because your mind contains within itself the panorama of time and computer does not. The computer programmer, through his manipulation of images has created in your mind a sequence of remembered actions and your mind has interpreted from that sequence of images a living universe that includes a past that you have experienced and expectations for the future depending on the choices you make.
The first question we are asking at this stage is; what are our obligations? We are the masters of evolution. The future will be the outcome of the actions and choices we make in the present. Evolution is not progress. For all of its power, it is mindless. Only humans can make the distinction between what is possible and what is proper. If there is a difference between what can be and what should be it is only individual human beings that can detect that difference because only man lives in the panorama of time. What kind of world shall we make? Who shall we allow in it? If Human beings hold the responsibility for the future of the universe then it is because each of them individually hold in their hands the awesome power of evolution.
The second question now lies before us. Do we determine the future of the universe? Or do we allow others to do it for us. Remember that the only power they have over our decisions is the power we delegate to them. Whether they represent the government, the corporation, or our religious institutions, mosques, temples, churches, they are the tools we use to meet our responsibilities. It is only as individuals that we use these tools, or if we are not careful are used by them. You need to look about you. The people you see, the boy down the street working on his car, the kid with the computer, the girl waiting for the school bus, Forget what they are. Ask yourself what they could be. Even consider yourself. What is it that stands between these people as they are and the same people as they might be if they had the opportunity. Then ask yourself what changes in the social systems that you all share would move what is a little closer to what could be.
Aristotle defined the human soul as what it is to be a specific human being. This implies that every person is something, not just a two legged animal, but a fully functioning human being complete with attributes that are particular to itself. In the eighth century the Abbasid caliphate encouraged the arts, philosophy and sciences. It encouraged the best in mankind. And it became the greatest city in the world. Don't forget that the great scientific advances made in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries in Europe were based primarily on the science developed in Baghdad in the eight to the twelfth century. There is no reason why Islam can not again become a leader in the world. Islam has already proven it does not need the West to lead the world. It did so while westerners were still living in the forests of Europe. American soldiers on the ground in Iraq will not solve their problems and a government in Baghdad that borrows its structure from the west will not make Iraq the kind of country is has the capability of being, particularly if it finds itself under the power of American oil companies. There is no "winning" the war in Iraq. Whenever the Iraqi people decide they want to build a country all they have to do is unite and drive the foreign influences out. After that they still must face the same responsibilities the rest of us do. Remember, the success of the Abbasid Caliphate was due to its openness.
All men face the same challenges, whether they live in the deserts of Arabia, the jungles of Africa, the mountains of China, or the cities of America. As they attempt to bring into their future under control, they face a world with an awesome excess of variety. The mechanisms men develop in their unavoidable drive for progress, a modern euphemism for evolution, place constraints on their own actions. There can be no advance without constraint. Movement requires an alphabet of possible actions and a set rules, constraints, that determine how these actions are to be ordered. Properly developed, constraints increase the variety of possible future actions. This can only be accomplished by a species of life that is aware of the past and the future as well as of the present.
We have made only one assumption in this work, that is, that the universe is a rational place. The only truth that we have accepted, and even that only tentatively, was that what is cannot not be. Everything else we have developed was through reasoning from ideas that were intuitively acceptable and non-controversial. Consider for example yourself. In your town or city, your country, on the entire Earth, the milky way galaxy, even the entire universe there is no other you. You are a one. As we developed in the concept of emergence, when something becomes that was not, its becoming is through the development of complex hierarchical constraints that freeze it into being. Every atom in the universe, every hadron, is a one. Everything that comes to be does so by becoming a one. The constituents that make up anything that has come to be are, and have been since their emergence, each a one. We can follow this back to the origin of the universe and back to the emergence of everything that exists or has existed. Nothing can be that is not a one. But the universe is. That makes the universe itself a one. It is not surprising that Pythagoras developed a religion around the accepted fact that One was God.
Remember our description of the form that complex hierarchical constraint takes in the development of social systems. This is a condition that is only possible when individual members of a social system reflect on and evaluate their own conceptions of the system, their roles in it, and the role the system plays in the life of each individual. Then, using these reflections, choose those activities out of the available variety that augment their own personal evaluation.
As with the emergence of any level In a complex system, social structures form at the interface between two networks, one, a serial network of change, Including both uncontrolled change, that is change determined by the environment and controlled change, or change determined by forces within the world model itself. And the other a parallel network of communication, which occurs only in present time but links together related variety in the present. In order for people to interact successfully with a world filled with such an excess variety they must choose from that variety a set of activities which will be mutually beneficial to each other. And, since there are many such sets, they must agree on which set they will in fact select. For this agreement there must be some kind of communication. In fact, since many of the selections are arbitrary, there must be a mechanism for inducing others to accept which of the arbitrary selections all will make. Communications media, Luhmann said, are formulated whenever the manner of one partners selection serves simultaneously as the motivating structure for the other. It serves to bind both partners who make their own selections Individually but are aware of the selections made by each other.
The choice of those who create and apply the laws of the society is therefore the most important choice the members of the society will make. In animal societies the leader is chosen by instinct and tradition, and perhaps a little bumping of heads. He is the alpha male, the male of the tribe or herd who has clearly demonstrated his superiority over all others. His alphaness is clearly evidenced physically through his demeanor, and very often through a physical change in his body. Among humans, only fellow humans can determine who should lead. With little or no instinctive guide to determine which member of the tribe or city-state should lead, men are forced to choose from among themselves. It is of no small importance who shall lead since the happiness and prosperity of all depends on his or her ability, not on their physical characteristics. If the world is rational, and every man has the potentiality of understanding it, then every person is equally capable of determining who should rule. This is not true in a culture that does not recognize the inherent rationality of the world. That one person, through birth or circumstances and regardless of ability, is destined to rule is essentially irrational. Thus democracy makes sense only in a rational world. But the effect of democracy, of placing the responsibility for the effects of the government back on the electorate is only valid if the citizens are sufficiently involved in the choice of legislators to be willing to accept responsibility for their actions.
If what we have discussed up to now makes sense to you. If you understand the unique role of the human being in the universe better than you did before reading this then I have accomplished something. What our reasoning has led us to understand is that the power of evolution has shifted from the basic physical laws of the universe to the mind of man, and by that I mean the individual man and woman. To the extent that this is true, that our understanding is close to the structure of the universe, there are some important implications: First, every human being that does not reach his or her full potential represents a net loss for the universe as a whole. Not just for the human race, but for the entire universe. Remember the motivation for creation of the universe, in Leibniz words, "the greatest variety with the simplest of means," is provided by a system of complex emergence designed to give everything that is possible an opportunity to exist.
Second, consider the progress man has made in the universe with the creative talent of a miniscule percentage of the available talents that are being put to use. If we could harness the potential of just twice the percentage we are now using, still an insignificant part of the totality of the human race, the advantage to everyone and to the universe as a whole would astound your wildest imagination.
Third, consider the value of a trained creative individual compared with that of a cheap laborer. Each person who has not been given the opportunity to develop his talent represents a capital loss to the community greater than all of the machines, robots, and factories combined.
Last, all of this can be made possible simply by turning our creative talents toward supporting people instead of supporting institutions. Social systems are not the creators of wealth, people are. Social, economic, and governmental systems are nothing but the tools that people use to create. Is the carpenter a subject of his saw? Is the pianist a slave to his instrument? Of course not. Then why are people subservient to an economic system?
The question we are asking in this chapter is simply where do we start? Aristotle said that it is the role of a man to increase his own virtue and it is the role of the polis to provide an atmosphere conducive to moral development among the citizens. As usual Aristotle has the right answer to the problem but no answer to the question. Social systems are developed by people to accomplish activities they can not do as individuals. If their activities do not reflect the thinking of the citizens then the citizens will feel no responsibility for the effects of the the activities.
Although the spark of creativity that lies in each of us is the key to the future of the universe there is little we can accomplish as individuals. We need to develop social institutions that are not tied to political parties, governments, or cultural institutions. They should consist of many diverse groups each with its own aim, of people who are willing to communicate. When dealing with diverse populations open communications among people with open minds is absolutely essential. This can begin simply by people posting ideas to my web site n4bz.org a place where anyone can bounce their ideas off and others can read and comment on what they find. From this will grow, with the right kind of nurturing, the birth of a movement. These ideas require two qualifications, they must be designed to build people, and they must include the possibility of being successful.
To build success we must begin with success. Anyone who does not realize that capitalist economics has been the most powerful source of motivation devised by man has not been doing his homework. However, it is out of control, like a game of Monopoly where someone else owns Park Place and all the hotels, so that only they are motivated. There is no question that it could benefit from a few more constraints. If what I am suggesting takes hold and is successful, then perhaps it might give ordinary people the power to bring it under control. As of now, a few people have all the marbles. That does not prevent us from taking advantage of the freedom and power offered by the system.
To begin with a well-developed business plan is the best opening into the capitalist system. Any venture that makes business sense will attract capital. Though many may not realize it, the real source of riches lies in the creative imagination of people who need to be developed then let loose. Unlike science, which has universally accepted rules, and even more so than sociology, economics is a religion with each economist choosing his own Bible to believe in. But there are a few concepts that they seem to agree on. If you ask any professional economist what economics is, you are most likely to get a single answer, "the control of scarcity." This answer avoids a number of thorny problems they would rather not attempt to solve because they are not scarce, like poverty and ability. However, we can make use of this. There has never been in the history of the world, a scarcity of people. As our world progresses into the technological future there has been developing a scarcity that we can fill. That is a scarcity of skilled, talented, and motivated people. As more of the people in emerging societies turn from peasants to consumers and from followers to leaders, the demand for progress will grow exponentially. The great multinational corporate structure that dominates the economic world cannot live without skilled motivated people to meet that growing demand.
Where do we begin? How about the old common sense business adage, find a need and fill it? Consider just one example, a teacher faced with a room full of thirty-five students and a program which says that she must teach all thirty-five the same information in the same manner. If she gets through to a half dozen then she has every right to consider herself successful. The other twenty-nine may survive a year or two of this kind of education but soon the teachers will either have to lower their expectations considerably or leave most of the students behind. It is no wonder that so many parents these days opt for home schooling. But one does not have to be an expert on George Mead to see that home schooling does not fill the need for social contact. Our advantage is that we understand that need. The basic mechanisms are there, public and private educational systems, home schooling organizations, experimental schools. With our understanding of the role that society plays in developing individuality, we can interface with the existing institutions to bring individual attention to schoolrooms and social interaction to home schooling. We must also see education as a lifetime pursuit, not something applied only to the young. Look around you with an open mind and within your own private world you will recognize other equally obvious needs. When we move from the first stage of communication into the second stage of action what we have learned in the first stage will form the bedrock on which we can build.
We have determined that the engine of evolution, beginning at the level of complexity that includes Man, lies in the creative capacity of the individual human. All those things we find that are above that level of complexity are tools that men use to exercise their individual creativity. If this is true then each person has the obligation to develop his ability and to become the best of whatever he is. That does not mean that everyone must be a rocket scientist or a surgeon, good technicians and business leaders are equally necessary. Part of what a person is includes the roles he or she plays in society. These roles are emergent qualities that define the individual. They emerge from the attitudes the person takes toward the activities of his life. However, they cannot emerge at all if the person is tied down to responsibilities that require assets that are not available to him. Given the opportunities the strongest motivator is success, the greatest obstacle is frustration.
Social systems are the tools that individuals use to perfect themselves in the roles they play in society. These systems emerge through the interactions of individual members of the society and are maintained through self-reflexivity. That means that their only reason for existing is that individuals find them useful in fulfilling the obligations placed on them by their roles in society.
The object, then, is to build social systems which fill the needs we have found. As we develop successful people they become part of our system and will support its development. The need is there. Therefore the market is there. Since the result will be the development of the fastest growing scarcity in our technological world, motivated skilled people, the growth potential for our enterprise is unlimited.
Freedom is too valuable to be controlled by complacent citizens. The plan I have outlined is only one possibility for meeting the responsibility entailed by the freedom of man. It could and probably should be approached from many different directions depending on the imagination and ability of the originating entrepreneurs. The average citizen might be cowed by the immensity of the universe. Social entrepreneurs are people who, seeing the role that humans play in the evolution of the universe, are excited by the unlimited possibilities, without being overwhelmed by the awesome responsibility
The next step is up
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