Our Social Ecosystem
by Elaine Walker

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Dada from the Twitter steaming API (10000 points, 30000 vectors). Base map from OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA. Credit: Eric Fischer

In order to exercise our curiosity, we need free time, and that calls for civilization of some sort, and to have civilization calls for social cooperation on a large scale. But we inevitably let our abstract thought run amuck, and “cooperation” then leads to various types of control and oppression such as forced “equality”, regulation, taxation, and an overabundance of laws, programs, and “solutions”. This is particularly the doing of the political left who believe that legislation is necessary in order to control the “greed” and prejudice of individuals. However, it always involves some kind of unnatural force on individual people—much more than the “greed” of any individual does.

In my opinion, heavy top-down legislation is as outmoded as superstition and most religions.

It is ironic that many of the same people who deem themselves as environmentalists insist that human society be so un-natural. It isn’t even a compassionate view. Heavy legislation mocks our independence, insults our intelligence, devalues our judgement, weighs on our psyche, and lessens our dignity. Furthermore, it results in multitudes of unintended consequences in society that often unexpectedly hurt those who are less fortunate to begin with. Consequences can be hard to trace back to their original source because of the complexity of large group dynamics, so misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions run rampant in society and this cyclically leads to more and more top-down legislation.

Consider, once again, the holistic causal nature of the universe. Just as it is free from bosses or middle management or other types of micromanagers, so too can our societies be.

In fact, our large group interaction is the one area where we humans should still manage to fit in with nature, because with such great numbers of people we can act as an organic interweaving of influences. Self interest and cooperation are the biggest knitting needles, and as two of the few primitive instincts we have left, they are the perfect competing factors. Entire societies and economies naturally grow out of these two simple instincts, where processes bubble up from the creativity of many individuals, through our interconnections.

This is usually how societies take shape in the first place, but never how they finish. No completely free society has grown past a certain point and continued to be left to its own devices long enough to see what greatness could come out of it. Sure as day, a few people pop up out of the crowd and impose control over many, far beyond what other animals are capable of. We impose so much artificial order and structure on ourselves and others that the governing body eventually rivals that of the people. And when governments outgrow the people in influence, a nation becomes top heavy and eventually crushes under its own weight.

The path to freedom is two fold.

One is to vote for freedom (decentralized control) wherever possible. It is much easier to add laws, regulation, committees, and bureaucrats than it is to take them away. So, voting in the direction of freedom is basically for the purpose of slowing down the inevitable pace toward tyranny. In that spirit, we don’t want more laws for freedom (for instance, more pro-gay-marriage laws), but rather less laws against freedom (declare that marriage is not the business of governments to begin with!). If no laws invaded our lives with other people’s outmoded views, then we wouldn’t need to be so concerned with other people’s views.

And two, to teach a rudimentary form of chaos theory in grade schools, alongside Euclidean geometry so that kids go through life with a better understanding and appreciation for how the natural world works, including large group dynamics (spontaneous order). Fractals and natural processes could give a visual illustration in contrast to angles, circles, cubes, and examples of human-made objects and organizational methods, which are best described by Euclidean geometry and born out of abstract thought. By showing the stark contrast of nature and human abstract thought, children would gain a better awareness of how we control and manipulate our surroundings and each other in society. If our schools taught these lessons it would be impossible to devolve into tyranny out of sheer ignorance.

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Other topics:
Nature and Complexity
Chaos theory
Probabilistic Determinism
Abstract thought
Science and “Spirituality”
Our Social Ecosystem