As a society becomes managed better, life in government becomes more complicated and life in society becomes more simple. As life in government gets simpler, life in society gets more complicated. The trick is to strike a reasoned balance between the two so that life in government becomes feasible and effective while life in society balances between being engaging and being healthful.
Consider two extreme states: anarchy and totalitarianism. In one, the government is absent, making its level of complexity 0. However, in such a state, society and its members lack organization, have no means of redress and life essentially reverting to a brutish system of overlordship by whomever is the physically strongest and able to repel all challengers. There is no accountability, even though it logically seems that a new order emerges from the ashes of the collapsed old order in real life away from the hypothetical scenario of anarchy.
Now we can consider totalitarianism. Under such circumstances everything is controlled by the government. Complexity would have to be near approaching 1 (for shorthand) as the day to day operations of enforcing and maintaining everything becomes so complex and unattainable that the system collapses in real life. The job of managing society is too great for any government, and we once again see the collapse of this hypothetical extreme state in common reality.
What then is likely to happen is that societies will adopt some level of government in between 0 and 1 on this hypothetical complexity scale for the managing of their affairs on a daily basis. A word of caution would need to be inserted as the quality, objective, and effectiveness of the government would also have to be considered as additional axes for determining the overall effectiveness and outcomes that will actually be realized as a result of governments’ policies and actions. Obviously the extremes of all must be avoided due to their inability to generate anything positive. There are also different combinations of values on these axes that are feasible depending upon the cultural preferences and condition of the given society. However, there are most certainly undesirable combinations of each of these values for every member of society due to their instability and inability to enable a society and government to survive well, let alone thrive.
I believe that the key combinations of these axes enable people in societies to thrive while also maintaining a human need for engagement and autonomy in life. This then gets paired with what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and appropriate for the government to do in any given time and condition. Ultimately, there is are solutions to the problems that societies are faced with that governments need to either coordinate efforts for or deal with directly. All of this is conditional upon the changing conditions in societies, our environments, and our knowledge of how things are and can be in the universe. The key to all this is the willingness and ability to adapt to new and changing conditions. Without that initial capability, all is lost, and the most we can hope for is to occasionally come up with winning combinations every once and awhile, if at all.
Frankly, I think we’re running out of time to do a successful overhaul of our governing systems, primarily due to lack of will on top and potentially down below in our governing systems. Too much money is fouling the political game, not enough consideration or care for the people of society who compose the actual society. Too much emphasis on ideals and ideologies, not enough focus on the actual mechanics of economies and societies.
Pity everyone, for we will be paying the price for these mistakes.
Tags: biology, civilization, Complex systems, complexity, Dynamics, economics, economy, environment, Environmentalism, governing, government, inverse, Math, mathematics, Natural law, Physics, political science, politics, quality of life, Simplicity, social health, Social physics, society, Structure, Systems, well being
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