[I’m still working on this one…]
History. I visualize it as follows. We humans start as small groups of individuals on a large “plain” living day to day, hand to mouth. Groups get bigger, individuals compete within the group and the groups compete. Then some groups amalgamate and destroy or absorb other groups. Now the big groups repeat this process. Needs and interactions become more and more complex. People and groups learn and become more and more effective. Division of labour. Bigger and bigger problems are discovered and solved. Some individuals are more powerful and capable than others. Force is the only vector for achieving ends. We arrive at stable organized societies with structure and hierarchies and an identity they know their group by. The bump is like a cone, with the King at the apex. My image is the plain randomly spotted with bumps which are these groups. There are large distances between groups. So the entities are rather isolated and it’s a major undertaking to conquer a neighbor. Luckily we have horses, new metals and heavy duty sandals. Occasionally one group becomes very strong and conquers all its neighbours, eg Assyrians, Rome, Han etc., so empire.
Another vector has arisen, money, but it is in the hands of the elite only. Force still rules, but now things can be effected by money.
Mathematics and other knowledge sets develop. Gambling -> probability -> statistics -> insurance. Now we can move beyond trade to big business, capitalism. Science. Industrial revolution. Money no longer in hands of elite. Now there is a new elite. The bumps have become larger – countries/nascent nations. But still separate as before. Fewer bumps on the plain now and bigger.
But now there is a change in the bumps, no longer simple cones, with a king at the top of a hierarchy. Now we have a blob with multiple ‘heads’ of very powerful wealthy individuals and corporations as well as governments. Nation states.
And, now the blobs are becoming closer together and connected by improvements in transportation and communication all facilitated by business deals. As we enter the 20th century, we have a field of interconnected nation states. Separated yet inseparable.
Earlier, if we touch the field it was mostly empty with a few bumps here and there. Now it is a complex, rough field with no ‘spaces’ but an array of interconnected blobs.
Today, the next major paradigm shift is happening because of the internet. Individuals at the bottom of the hierarchy can now effect change by banding together. Pooling money. This new ‘group’ may only last a short time, popping in and out of existence as its objective is fulfilled, or it may become other things, like an international corporation with a longer life-span. The point is, just like capitalism could not arise without insurance, this could not happen without a new technology – the internet.
The nation state became non-simple with as business transcended the borders. Now individuals, businesses and other non-state actors can achieve things without the approval or knowledge of the state. Businesses are coming together and it will be business I think that starts to solve the trans-border issues such as cyber-security. Interestingly, the army is suing the banks.
The blobs are no longer firm solid entities. They have become amorphous. Interaction, interconnection, communications is now multi-dimensional throughout the field. The previous idea/definition of a state as a self-contained entity is long gone. In fact it is breaking down. The state will be with us for a long time because it takes care of some useful such as health care insurance. Though of course the diagnosis can be done remotely as can the cure.
[eg non-state actors, such as corporations who get together for cyber-security and well-funded non-state actors who are not concerned with imaginary political borders.
Such as #Chicagogirl (the social network takes on a dictator); Ar… emails re the nation state
See also (
UAE Air Force Purchase Reflects Evolving Threat
|January 10, 2015|
What I haven’t seen discussed to much is the integration of technology into our bodies. People have already changed DNA on many fronts. Other scientists are working on making computers out of DNA. Soon I won’t have a computer, I WILL BE a computer, wifi included. Individuals will become empowered to a much greater degree. Mobility will cease to have meaning. The blob will become even more amorphous and soft. Hierarchy will change. There will still be a state, an army, an education system, a finance system and business and so on.
I see history as a living organism, growing in the “plain” and maturing. We have a ways to go yet.
A nice overview supported by analogous thinking. With the passage of time and and abstractions becoming concrete realities progress becomes limitless.
Yes, and there is a back and forth between growth of the concrete and the abstractions. As we realize a new abstraction we can create new concrete entities. The more we learn and perceive about what is there, the more sophisticated abstractions we can realize.