VI. Effectology in Society and Politics
"Social phenomena, including collectives, should be analyzed in terms of individuals and their actions and relations."
Questions that will be considered:
What kind of accidents change civilizations and societies?
Do societies progress in time?
What are the effects of the modern world?
Society is a group of people united by common interests, mainly to help and protect each other and ensure their continuity. The role of politics is to resolve conflicts and establish order in society, in principle to have a group in power that will rule the rest. These two fundamental socio-politic notions cannot be separated, because they share the same goal of survival.
It is amazing how, from God's generosity in giving the earth to humanity, there emerged societies with exclusive rights, and how all mankind, once free, came to be ruled by social contracts and political laws. It all happened because people tried to impose their will on each other, which produced division in the community. It created accidents of inequality and the effectual foundation for all revolts.
In the beginning, things were different. Primitivism was identified with a simple life close to nature and with lawless savagery. Because there was no society, no classes existed and all men were equal. There was no exploitation among the group members, who shared everything they had and knew.
Initially, groups were formed of children and parents whose grandparents lived together with other grandparents and relatives. The original group was based on blood ties and kinship, which grew into clans.
Nomadic pastoralism produced migratory herdsmen with no social or political structure. Hunters and gatherers changed into warriors, and just like in the animal world, they needed a plan to act efficiently. Any group of humans was, and still is, subjected to a hierarchy, and constant adjustments are needed for it to function in an orderly fashion.
It took thousands of years for a group of individuals to become a tribe. There was a vital necessity for families and clans to unitethey were safer living in larger numbers. The common need for better food and shelter caused them to abandon pastoral nomadism and settle in villages, where minimal social order was needed to rule daily activity. That need seeded the ideas of an advanced social order, which was entrusted to the leadership of elders or stronger men. The effect of that need was a village class stratification, which probably took place ten thousand years ago.
Since humanity's infancy, groups and tribes clashed and with each other when accidentally forced to share the same sources of water, fruit, or hunting grounds. Stealing food and women from each other was enough reason for men to fight, and for the winners to impose their wishes and rules on the losers.
When the first piece of fur or cloth was attached to a spear to indicate leadership, the flag was inventedand that marked the birth of a nation. Such spontaneous social formations were enriched by tradition, religion, and trade, and held together by well led warriors who guarded the safety of all members. The primitive nation was a large social order of tribes and hordes with the strong solidarity to impose their will inside and outside their territory.
Fighting for survival and personal riches led to slavery, which divided society into classes. Since that time, nothing has been even and fair in the world of humans. The reflective philosophical thoughts about the way men lived their lives, created Homo Ethologus (Ethicos).
Philosophers' thinking reflected the societal, political, and cultural times they lived in. Any social accidents or events deeply influenced their practical opinions, as well as idealistic concepts of any kind. In Republic, Plato envisioned a highly regulated society with no individual property and with all its members living freely and equally. This noble social idea was conceived in the fifth century B.C. at the height of slavery, which troubled the political philosopher.
The Greek and Roman republics had rules made by an elected body of law makers, which excluded the authority of a king but were approved by the pagan religion and schools of thought. Because the advanced individuals lived in fortified cities, where moral rules had to be obeyed, Homo Civicus was born, later to become Homo civilis/civilized. He was the effect of a higher level of living and of a divided society. Civilization was a social and cultural movement, as well as a product of thinking about living a good life.
The privileged citizens were entitled to full protection of their freedom and their rights, but that did not change the slave relationships within their society one bit. In fact, it was moral for their government to carry on wars and enslave other nations to enrich their own republic. It was definitely a one-sided civilization.
Brilliant philosophers expounded upon the nature of these rapacious actions, but they could not reform the established system. In fact, most of them were immensely rich and owned slaves. They had time to think and write because the social system worked in their favor. The great Aristotle considered slavery a civilized and necessary institution. As a slave owner himself, he felt its benefits and accepted it.
Unlike the natural accidents which happen unpremeditatedly, social accidents have detectable roots. History may not have a line on accidental events of the future, but according to Hegel, it (history) is "the march of God in the world." These few prophetic words carry an immensely important message: any changes that happen in the life of a society depend little on its governments, its leaders, or its people's wishes. Events that change history were believed to happen because a Supreme Ruler desired them.
Each society is a product of its members' actions, similar to a galaxy made of multitudes of individually moving stars. Just like cosmic explosions dictated by endless planetary collisions, the movements in any society are an accumulation of many individual accidents happening at all levels among its members. When these smaller accidents clash against each other, their tumultuous effects become visible in the form of social unrest, strikes, revolts, revolutions and civil wars. Indeed, any changes in society start with changes inside of a group of people or a social class. The result is a caprice of chance, another definition for an accident, which leads to many political changes and economical re-arrangements in society.
The ultimate philosophical conclusion is that societies and politics are made by humans, not by God. Yet, certain divine and natural laws seem to apply to an array of powerful accidents and their effects on all humans' actions. When a member begins to terrorize his group, the group will eliminate him. When a group becomes tyrannical, the other groups will destroy it. When a leader abuses his power, all social classes will depose him from high office. All these rebellious actions are true accidents with corrective effects for the troubled society that brews them.
Effectology explores the underlying importance of self-regulated accidents and incidents that allow the world to function and sustain life in a social or political order. Any extreme social actions are "accidents" because in a perfect world they would never happen. But with so many things going wrong, social incidents evolve beyond human control and end up as unexpected changesthe definition of an accident.
Each generation and society had its own great accidental movements resulting in accomplishments and defeats that produced major changes. These changes occurred either over a long period of time as the result of the accumulation of reason and the slow impact of education, or overnight, as the effect of an explosive situation. Regardless of how changes are made, accidents of all kinds have always been a part of history in the making.
When it comes to social and political accidents, the ancient concept of eternal return applies. The tide of history is accidental by definition, and it seems to periodically regulate all events in a society. The ample but predictable return of human cyclic experiences has a regular movement throughout mankind's existence, interrupted, of course, by accidents and their effects.
What is most important from the Effectological point of view is that social, political, and other accidents are not all destructive. To the contrary, they are needed to keep the cycle revolving, generating a motion that keeps individuals, societies, and nations alive and making progress. Social struggle always generates a corrective action. Because of this, kings and empires come and go to make room for new ones. Social and political systems are overthrown to allow other systems to prove themselves; wars wipe out cities only for better cities to be built, and on and on. No change means no progress, and often only regress. The role of Effectology is to examine the cause and effect of changes, including those in society and politics.