Temporal Social Fundamental

The primary force in organic systems is survival. Environment, labor, and consciousness combine to create a life cycle of birth, procreation, and death. For example, if the productivity of labor and consciousness remain steady over generations, then, population size is determined by the environment's resources as distributed by competition.

I call these relationships the temporal social fundamentals. They describe what happens over time to natural systems like grass growing on an island; grass growing on an island with rabbits; and grass growing on an island with rabbits and wolves.

What I find interesting is that when humans are added to an island environment, human consciousness does not see itself governed by them.

Maybe this confusion has to do with:
==> the added complexity of having the entire globe as our island; ==> having a consciousness that can grasp the grass, rabbit, wolf
          island system as seen from the outside but can not grasp
          the system that includes itself as viewed from within; and
==> having a consciousness that can not grasp the system's
          temporal character because it takes more than a human life
          time to get past a view of short term cycles and see the
          long term trends.

Maybe this confusion has to do with a belief that conscious humans are different enough from rabbits and wolves that temporal social fundamentals do not apply. That is our creation of technology and use of fossil water and fuel reserves so greatly expands the productivity of our environment the rules that govern organics of lower consciousness do not apply to us.

Maybe the confusion is caused by a failure to understand that, humans use the environment to fulfill their desires rather than create sustenance at a survival level. That as a result, many humans have moved upward to a well being much above subsistence. That this also exposes them to movement back down. And that, these movements are governed by temporal social fundamentals. For example, friendly competition motivates most to achieve higher levels of well being. However, if these rises in well being bump into the limits of resources and technology, some individuals find themselves losing resources and moving downward.

Maybe the confusion is caused by a failure to understand that human conflict is different than the conflict that results from a competition of two grass plants trying to find the last mineral in the soil. When one plant eats the other plant's lunch, all the second plant knows is, "lunch is missing." In a human system the loser knows who at his lunch. Living well above subsistence the loss does not take him our of the competition. The loser aggressively pursues lunch. So much so that after the conflict there is less total to share.

Knowledge of this inefficient process is masked by beliefs that conflicts require sacrifice, losers have to pay, winners have to wait for spoils of war, and advancing technology covers everyone's loses. No one seems to see that the whole process is a truly inefficient way to improve either their personal, or their progeny's, well-being.

Still not convinced. Take this little test about your beliefs. Do you believe:
==> that fossil water and fuels are becoming more expensive to          most people on the planet, because of increasing costs of
         extraction and protection of supply lines?
==> That natural supplies of, for example, sea and forest products
         are being extinguished through over consumption?
==> That reservoirs for the by-products of our lives are being
         filled up?
==> That saturated labor markets are driving down wages?
==> That the cost of constraining social violence is taking a bigger
         percentage of the GDP?
==> And that the middle class is dissolving into some rich and
         many poor?

If you answered yes, then you should believe that temporal social fundamentals "HOLD" no matter what our technology, earthly resources, or well being distribution schemes. That when a system's deliverables do not meet desires and resources are taken from one individual by another, downward mobility and conflict are the natural destination.

If you still don't believe that temporal social fundamentals govern, then remember that social violence is the final arbiter of who has environment. Environment belongs to the last person who took it by force. The concept of bartered environment, is an anomaly of brief periods in narrow regions. The reader is one of the lucky few to experience it. Today, fighting for environment still goes on. We just fly over those places and don't vacation there.

Finally, our confusion might be caused by a failure to understand that, temporal social fundamentals govern the human system at the level of the individual. When an individual experiences a downward slide in well being; when a person sees her destination and identifies the system as its cause, putting a wrench in its gears to stop a descent is the logical option.

It makes no difference if she is as rich as Osama bin Ladin or as poor a slum kid, if she can see her destination below, she can act to not go there. If she can not both act and save herself, she can act as a martyr for her group.

If that means breaking the system, if that means hurting its individuals to cause the system to change; so be it. The individuals she hurts are just a few years from their own awakening that "they too are sliding downward." It is a small difference between helping now as victims, and helping later as actors. I am not condoning her actions. I am showing that her actions are part of a condition driven logical progression.

Of course, I did not present this construction to justify grass roots perpetrated system disruption.

I have laid it out so you can weigh the inevitable, recognize that none of the institutions on the face of the earth and none of the processes, that these institutions have at their disposal, can make the "demand-side" changes required by temporal social fundamentals to get to conditions we want for ourselves and our great great grand children.

Everyone should want a system that gets better for everyone -- not worse for most, if not for altruistic reasons then to avoid the consequences of social conflict.

To produce a system that delivers an adequately rising material well being to all, while at the same time not destroying the environment, requires a rapidly declining population.

This requires (for several hundred years if not longer) a universal one child per family procreative behavior.

Control over this behavior (sans part of China) is the domain of the individual. A view of temporal social fundamentals could facilitate this choice. But only if a higher level of consciousness is universally created among the global constituency and they can value the promised benefits.

I don't mean spiritual consciousness. I mean a high enough level of "temporal causal consciousness" to make "inferred abstract future conditions" the dominant contributor in the "child-per-family choice." Anything less and temporal social fundamentals predict the destination no one wants ==> a social conflict greased slide to subsistence.


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org      (homepage) www.skil.org      Other position papers

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