Nature is an Efficient Model for Productive Societies
When we examine human society, we immediately notice both chaotic behavior and orderly conduct. It is chaotic because of free will. Our susceptibility to changes in our environment often disrupts our normal routines, which disrupts other people’s routines. We, therefore, see humanity as unpredictable. Our society is orderly because millennia ago, we established rules of conduct to minimize social tensions. Then our biology follows certain rules since all humans are built the same way with few differences overall. These make us somewhat predictable within the chaos.
We don’t think about it because it’s always been this way. Order and chaos coexist in harmony. Yet we’ve been productive despite the unpredictability of human interactions.
Nowadays, we have so many ways to measure behavior and to track movements, communications, emotional states and more. We can use artificial intelligence, the Internet cloud and a growing number of sensors to capture the mounds of information describing human activity. Scientists and sociologists, like the often-mentioned Maslow, have also figured out what makes humans tick. We now understand our emotions are chemicals produced by our brain, sending signals throughout our bodies, driving us to action. We understand the natural world and how we’re influenced by it, and how it influences us. We’re still just scratching the surface understanding how the brain works translate to social interaction, but we know it isn’t magic. We understand our immediate environment affects us every moment of every day, and that we influence our environment every second too.
I wrote about how the world is in constant physical and chemical equilibrium in a previous article. Since I base my opinion on valid research and fact, I thought it important to describe the constant balance of chemical equations all around us impact the whole planet. The famous saying “the fluttering of a butterflies’ wings creates hurricanes on the other side of the planet” illustrates how matter and energy are connected in a closed chemical system like the Earth. Since we are physically part of this world, therefore our chaotic actions produce a domino-effect of reactions over the whole planet, like a ripple effect. Thus, our society is in a constant chaotic flux. However, our actions and reactions follow determined rules based on how our brain and emotions work. We observe the ballet between order and chaos in our society.
If you remember your science lessons, molecules always react to preserve as much energy as possible. Scientists call it the law of energy conservation. To produce widgets that nature cannot create on its own, we need to spend more energy than the resulting product contains. We force the unnatural shaping of matter toward higher energy, instead of the natural decomposition of matter into lower energy states. Our society calls it building and rightly so. What we have failed to realize as humanity matured is that we have been using inefficient means of production. Instead of working with natural forces that spend as little energy as possible to keep the world in chemical equilibrium, we have so far disrupted this balance to built what we needed. The result of our lack of understanding of how the material and energy of the Earth is interconnected and balanced is destroying the natural order. We can it negative environmental impact or other terms.
But again, we have gained much understanding of the world’s chemistry, the governing laws of physics and how living creatures interact with each other. We can thus be much smarter in how we build what we need.
With proper understanding, we can have a productive society while working within the natural high-efficiency laws of physics, the laws of nature.
Since nature works in terms of organized chaos, to be efficient and in harmony with our planet, we must build within the rules of this organized chaos. If we adapt our building processes to the Earth’s chemical balance, our processes will also be efficient while being less damaging to the environment.
Also, beyond producing goods, if we adapt our societal models to natural low energy models, our social interactions will also be low maintenance, feel more natural, and be more efficient. We must stop trying to control everything everyone does. Instead, we should understand core human emotions, the organized aspects of society, and let each other free to experiment. We should ourselves make mistakes and bump into each other chaotically within minimal social rules.
We often limit our freedoms out of fear borne out of old traditions and beliefs. Our ancestors created old traditions and beliefs in a past where we didn’t understand the physical world or how predictable human beings can be, knowing how the brain works under certain stimuli. Our ignorant past gave us rules of conduct and morality rules out of the fear of the unknown. With the access of information, we have today, there is plenty of reason to reject most traditions and beliefs, keeping only those that align with the realities of the world. We must adapt our social rules based on our increasing understanding of the world and our own bodies.
With all the technologies we have at our disposal and growing understanding, we can take an example from the organized chaos found in nature and have a society with minimal rules. These few new rules form boundaries around the sandbox of life, where the chaos of human interactions can occur. We can design an efficient society while extracting what we need from the Earth.
The key is smart design. We can apply a concept I’ve also written about in another article, called “The Sandbox Governing Principle”. .
In a nutshell, human beings are social, giving and loving when we don’t suffer from chronic stress (like constant fear of losing a job or living in a gang neighborhood etc.…). When stress is low, human communities manage themselves, with the occasional incident. This known behavior is the product of the biology of each human being alive, so it is predictable behavior. Within those rules encoded into our genes, there can be chaos. However, an unpredictable chaotic society where love and sharing are engrained within individual motivations is not threatening. On the contrary, it sounds perfect. Make no mistake, such a low-stress society would still have difficulties, because chaos means the occasional unbalancing of systems, causing periodic instances of stress in the population, which will cause some amount of anti-social behavior. But with the right checks, society redresses itself by healing those members of society who went off track.
This societal model with minimal rules only works with minimal chronic stress. We would live well in this organized chaos with little need for resource expensive corrective social systems like justice institutions and correctional facilities. A healthy, low-stress society self-manages.
To create this new society, we need to rethink who we are and why we are here. Fundamentally, we don’t exist to work and fear the future. Our body is designed to chase joys and to avoid negative emotions. I talk about this in my first book, “Engineering Paradise: Are You Ready?”. What human beings need is what our bodies need to live: food, water, shelter and security. With this covered using artificial intelligence and automation, what humans need is to discover their place in society. The discovery of one’s place in the world is a personal journey not based on biology so much as our own personal experiences while seeking joy.
To create this high efficiency yet productive society, all we need is the willingness to re-design our world. Our socio-economic and political systems are antiquated and often obsolete. We can do so much better.
If you wish to build a better world, there is no better time than the present.