Friday, June 20, 2008

The Upward Spiral

Maybe there is a ratio of ever increasing concentrations of power and system disruption, for evolution to be continuing. For instance, humans have a higher concentration of power, able to use fabrications such as clothing, and heated buildings to live beyond the environmental bounds imposed on an animal using body heat and maybe a cave/nest. When a human goes to the South Pole or into outer space this exemplifies the higher concentration of power I refer to. In semiotics the written word is a greater concentration of power over oral histories.

The "glory" is not in the particular practitioners or instances, but in the practice. You are not superior because you can read, "literacy" is the superior "way". Ship building is the superior way, not the subgroup of humans who happen to own the most boats. A small group of people hoarding political power is not a concentration of power, but an attempt at reversing the trend of ubiquity. Thirty people on Earth knowing how to read means that writing is less powerful, everyone knowing how to read makes writing more powerful.

This greater concentration of power is the upward spiral in perpetual disequilibrium. But it would not be perpetual disequilibrium if it was absolutely linear, as absolute linear is a form of stasis. There needs to be systemic disruptions and challengers to to the upward spiral. Fads such a Primitivism, in which all concentrations of power are divested, are challenges to the upward spiral, But since anything anti-upward spiral is inherently not a concentration of power, it will lose energy and die. The upward spiral of concentrated power will co-opt and injest the energy of the dying antithetical challenger, and become stronger.



The Serpent Lord said...

The differences in power outreach our biology. Instinctive relationships of dominance within a primate band have inflated into total war and genocide, and this is often confused with technological power. This confusion sometimes leads to upheavals and revolutions when people with information and technology but without political dominance take over factories, burn cities, behead aristocrats etc.

Contemporary approaches to developing systems (such as Participatory Design) emphasize collaboration between stakeholders, a strategy friendly to commerce and technology, and a strategy which does not rely as heavily on biological notions of dominance as previous design strategies, such as scientific management.

BFGalbraith said...

About your point on literacy: I am increasingly being convinced that English is an important part of scientific literacy, at least now with the internet having the prominance that it does now. I will post more about this on