the development of social systems facilitated by technological evolution|
A concept of technology that is existentially generalized and inclusive would be very useful when discussing complex social phenomena.
In an elemental sense, technology should be thought of as a physical process which a living entity has the ability to use in order to realize an objective.
The very root of the word from the greek 'techne' refers to an 'art' or 'skill'.
Continuing to think of technology as being some sort of quasi-miraculous and unfathomable human-contrived physical system is akin to the absurd attitude that
only humans are capable of language and communication.
Species evolve skill in direct physical technologies such as oxygen exchange, photosynthesis, sex, teeth, digestion and so on to assist in the objectives of
growth and reproduction.
Species evolve skill in behavioural technologies such as webs, nests, axes, clothes, flying and swimming to facilitate those same biological objectives.
Species evolve skill in a social technology like a language... which is the modulation of a physical medium with information... and are thus able to coordinate role
cooperation to enhance the survival of the group.
Even bacteria do it.
The manipulation of any physical phenomena by a life form is a technological process.
A species can only evolve socially by means of a technology... that is to say it is not possible to have a non-technological society.
Social systems evolve and develop around technological capabilities that are adequate for the circumstances.
The fundamental technology that any social system must develop is that of efficient and effective communication about roles and information.
Whether it be sound, touch, visual, scent or other means, as soon as the individuals of a group can exchange information about who should be doing what,
where the food is, and what potential danger is present... they become the incipient elements of a technological society.
Species of bacteria, algae, ants, wasps, mammals and hominids have formed societies because of their ability to successfully manipulate a language medium to
enhance a cooperative strategy.
Suggesting that early hominids did not have a form of language ignores the fact that they were social because of it.
Socioevolution is the positive feedback interaction and complexification of social groupings and their technological network structures.
Many species have evolved the capacity to coordinate the behaviour of individuals in such a manner that environmental circumstances can be exploited
more effectively than could be achieved by those individuals acting alone.
The complexification and diversification of social structures stimulates and is stimulated by the capacity to manipulate the physical environment.
Social technologies...like firearms, steam engines, electronic devices and automobiles are only possible when a diversity of distributed technologies
become socially available and can be integrated into more complex technology.
Certainly individuals can manipulate the environment to their advantage... as when spiders weave their webs on suitable structures, or when birds build
nests from available materials... but the effect is magnified exponentially when species exchange the benefits available by diversifying the exploitation
potential of multiple technologies.
Social technology is the distributed knowledge that is available to individuals and groups from the specialized capabilities of other individuals
and groups within the society.
Some individuals know how to extract iron from natural deposits of ore.
Other individuals know how to make carbon, sulphur, salt petre and lead.
Others know how to construct specifically designed objects from the extracted metal.
The social complexification of these technologies enabled the construction of a firearm... which is a technological device that would generally
be beyond the capabilities of any one individual to construct.
One can argue academically, that physically and conceptually a single individual has the ability to construct such a device, but any individual
isolated from any social contact, and with all the natural elements available, would in practice quite simply be incapable of doing so.
By using technology to developing social systems of cooperation and role distribution, humans in particular have been able
to exploit and compensate for such environmental circumstances as climate change, geography, biological and natural energy resources, and variations
Human technology has been incrementally accumulating a heritage of knowledge that has the latent potential to induce revolutions.
The better technology favours outcomes in warfare, food production, health and energy exploitation, which in turn contributes to population growth and centralization.
Technologies that are adequate in some circumstances are not in others.
For example, fire is adequate for cooking and social industries like pottery... provided that the general climate is temperate.
Under mild and warm agricultural conditions, humans can socially cluster in numbers that are limited by their food distribution and communications technologies.
A severe ice-age climate change will quickly reveal the limitations of fire.
When warmth becomes an essential necessity of life, fire obtained by burning wood is not a distributed energy source like electricity, and can only effectively
provide heat for small groups of humans clustered in caves or small shelters.
Any attempt at creating a social distribution network of firewood... to sustain the social complexity of a small settlement... would quickly exhaust the
resources of the local countryside.
The arrival of an ice-age would quickly disintegrate an evolved agricultural society because the staple food source would have been removed and the
provision of generalized heating would become impossible.
Social structures would fractionate and disperse into family based groups that were big enough to have the resources to supply themselves with food,
warmth and shelter.
The existential perturbations of famine, disease, overpopulation, geography and climate change disrupt the process of socioevolution.
Technology is the control of the physical world, in applying an area of knowledge in order to realize an objective.
Social complexification is enhanced by communications, recording and money techniques and reciprocally, technological complexification is in turn facilitated
by social complexification.
The social accumulation of technological knowledge and devices is what facilitates further technological advances and it is the technological advances that
provide a means for societies to compensate for the existential stresses mentioned above.
Social and technological evolutions are parallel, inseparable, interrelated and interdependent aspects of the process whereby (human) societies
complexify and progressively acquire the capacity to correct for the various manifestations of the apocalyptic horsemen.
It is a positive feedback loop... which as we all know is intrinsically unstable.