The Further Evolution of Society

in #society3 months ago

unthinkable.jpg

The above image was made by @amberjyang using Midjourney with the prompt 'atoms of people, societal evolution is inherently cooperative in nature.'

Yesterday I sent out a Substack newsletter titled 'The Further Evolution of Society.' It contains stuff from this blog along with new material. The subjects considered include warrior archetypes, Spiral Dynamics, and our cooperative nature. Overall, the piece makes a case for accelerating society's evolution, in part by forgoing political action in favor of social and economic action.

The big idea here is that political change happens as a matter of course following the right kind of social change. As the whole social body evolves, its political organs naturally evolve with it. The most powerful levers of change are economic. Reconfiguring the economy would also reconfigure the political landscape.

I didn't get into the nuts and bolts of how such a reconfiguration could actually work. When most people think about social change leading to political change, they imagine masses of newly enlightened people participating in voting schemes designed for the paper-based world of the Nineteenth Century. This isn't what I'm talking about at all. In fact, I think that the systems of yesteryear are poorly matched to the demands of our current era.

Imagine instead a population that collectively decides to create a more free and fair society. Rather than holding yet another round of rigged elections, they systematically nullify all instruments of finance and politics which reduce society's freedom and fairness. This may mean voiding corporate entities that are more predatory than beneficial. It may mean recognizing that some government offices don't serve the public good and are therefore illegitimate.

The underlying truth here is that the rules and systems organizing society are only as real as our beliefs make them. And they're all anthropogenic. We literally just made them up and we can collectively choose to discard or modify them at any point. In a sense, the whole thing is a grand game of let's pretend. Laws. Courts. Non-human legal entities. Property titles. Patents. All of these things and more could lose their power overnight if our shared beliefs about them changed.

Periodic elections could give way to perpetual elections, with candidates voted out of office the moment they betray their constituents. Secure online polling could make our opinions clear to our leaders before they take any action on our behalf. Crushing debts could be erased with little more than an act of will. Indeed, the whole credit system could be abandoned in favor of a new system that's designed to put people over profits.

All of this may sound hopelessly radical and idealistic. Maybe it is. But to my way of thinking, it's far less radical than pursuing business as usual while society comes apart at the seams. Given how divided we are, and how totalitarian the control regime has become, I feel like some kind of revolution in the US is inevitable in the next twenty years. No one with any sense wants that revolution to be a violent one, so it seems important to begin looking at nonviolent alternatives. Even ones that challenge our assumptions about how societies must operate.

Framing such sea change as an acceleration of evolution rather than as a revolution has a few advantages. Revolutions have baggage. They bring to mind angry mobs and armed conflict. Evolution, on the other hand, is simply the way that the natural world works. Organisms and groups of organisms engage in mutually beneficial collaborations that improve their environmental fitness.


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Some people like the citizens of my country have also believed that there is no way we can have a free and fair election in Nigeria and we keep going with that belief
Also, it will be good to discard such belief if we want the country to be a better place

Good point. Thanks for commenting!

I LOVE your discernment between revolution and evolution. So powerful, and this changes the conversation about what activism means. So much of revolution-based approaches is rooted in tribalism and material goals. I'd vote for the kind of activism and system redesign you're calling for without hesitation. Also, it seems like evolution is deeply rooted in the basic principles of system theory. Specifically, the intersectionality and relationships between systems. So instead of only pushing for liberation and freedom in select spaces, we recognize oppression and exploitation wherever it exists. Hopefully this creates an openness to having fierce conversations about deeper corruptions not being talked about in the mainstream media. If people really know what's going on, I think many will jump on the wagon of reimagining a more free and fair society. Awesome job!!!

Hey thanks! I feel like this is part of what's missing from most conversations about societal change. It is common to hear people talk about how changing beliefs can change the world, but few venture into the practical mechanics of how this works. And how it works is systems of belief assigning or not assigning legitimacy to systems of governance, commerce, etc.