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The 10 axioms of Society


Complex dynamic systems follow their own fundamental rules due to their very nature. See The 10 axioms of Life where they are expressed in the general sense.

For a more interactive demonstration of non-linear relationships download the CauseF program (introduction, manual).

Human activity systems are a subset of Life, and the same rules hold overall although here they can be expressed in a more specific form.

The main difference between dynamic systems in general and their human version is the ability of humans to abstract. That is to say, they possess an internal system (the mind) which is capable of representing input from the senses (the source of which is the reality, the systems surrounding them).

Since the mind is subject to the same rules that govern systems in general, what the mind contains in the end becomes a function of how well or otherwise the processes were going through their paces.

Limitations due to a paucity of resources (energy in the form of nutrition as well as data), lack of affinity between representative clusters or too much of it, the sheer processing space available (how many neurons are available for the processes), and therefore how the output fares within the feedback loops weaving between the members of a society (for example, how acceptable a statement is to others), they all combine to produce an overall result.

All these factors are subject to change, and they do not apply to the same degree for every type of input nor output. While there are different functional scenarios within a society at any time, just as there are different scenarios even within each person, the effects of affinity and to what extent they are able to induce change, together with the feedback loops occurring within the overall system, they all combine to produce a result that defines the entire society.

The success or otherwise of a society can be defined along the specific factors as they pertain to that society's situatedness, and is ultimately dependent on the potential of its neighbourhood. As in life generally, the laws of thermodynamics hold in the end.

Those fundamental rules are -

1. A society is a self-declared human activity system displaying an organised framework that is designed to maintain the reality of those declarations.

2. The framework is a function of the resources - material and cognitive - available to its members.

3. Its members contribute to the overall standard through their individual abilities derived from their resources.

4. The rise and fall of those abilities define the system.

5. New members, whether emerging locally or imported, become defined through their education deemed necessary and/or their compared standards sourced from somewhere else.

6. Problematic situations are those which fall outside the perceived framework used for the society's definition.

7. The measures taken to address them reflect the nature of the situation as much as that of the society.

8. Success or otherwise is a function of the synchronicity between the situational reality and its perceived counterpart.

9. The definition of success and/or failure changes in tandem with the combined functional integrity of a society's members.

10. The ultimate determinant of a society's nature is a product of the perception by its dominant members and the social horizon attained by all of them.

All this can be expressed in a less technical form, summarising the above:

•  At the heart of a society lies its identity. How its members see themselves has resulted from their common perceptions about their situatedness within their given environment. The more closely that perception tallies with their actual nature, the more successful the society will be in maintaining its identity. Conversely, mismatches need to be reinterpreted to provide the concept of identity in any case, making room for even less realistic interpretations. Loss of identity leads to disharmony and dysfunction, on an individual as well as societal level.

•  Society regenerates through its young, and their education has to fit within the time span available. Whatever it takes to maintain society, the effort has to be made by the adults who are the result of education. Some of the young may require less resources, others more. Nevertheless, there is a limit to how many resources a society can afford to spend on the less capable, because its adults are needed to maintain society, not its failures.

•  If additional adults are imported from the outside, it matters how well these are adapted to the needs of their host. If further resources are needed to improve their standards, the same ultimate limitations apply. If their insufficient standards are not improved, the overall quality of society will be diminished.

•  Similar considerations apply to mindsets. If such cognitive frameworks belong to primitive and/or outdated scenarios, disregarding their negative influence will render the society incapable of addressing its current needs. On the other hand, mindsets that are more conducive to a well-functioning society, whether local or imported, will have a positive effect on the rest. It becomes a matter of which is has greater influence overall.

•  At the core of a society defining its viability and resilience lies its ability to adapt. It relates to changing environmental conditions per se as well as to changing conditions due to greater competition. If a society's overall mindset has rendered it incapable of adapting either way it will have compromised its standards. The quality of standards is instrumental in defining, recognising, and addressing any problems.

•  Fundamental to the survival of a society are functions related to each member's capacity in terms of operating one's body, the ability to eat, to procreate, and to possess a healthy mind. Falling short in any one of those areas is a form of decay, and not being able to address such shortcomings accelerates the degenerative process.

In principle those rules apply to any life form. Humans are no exception, although a higher complexity can temporarily hide the effects of disregarding them. To interpret the unseen as non-existent however is delusional.

Here is how Austrian Jugendstil artist Richard Teschner interpreted the cycle through the human perspective.

© Martin Wurzinger - see Terms of Use