Law of Techno-Humanitarian Balance

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= "The higher the power of production and war technologies, the more developed behavior/regulation means are required for self-preservation of society ". [1]


James Tierney:

"An interesting variation on this theme of self-destruction has been suggested by Big Historian Akop Nazaretyan, who has proposed the ‘Law of TechnoHumanitarian Balance’. This proposition states that the higher the power of war production and technology, the more refined the behavior-regulation needs to be for self-preservation of society (Nazaretyan 2004: 160). Nazaretyan builds on the work of physicist/biologist Erwin Shrödinger, which shows:

- … anti-entropy work can be done only by means of ‘order consumption’ from outside – that is, at the cost of the increasing entropy of other systems. In instances of abundant environments, open non-equilibrium systems increase the volume of their anti-entropy work, and expand as much as they can. Sooner or later, this exhausts the available resources, and as a result, a specific crisis in system-environment relations follows … Crises of this type are called endo-exogenous in ecology. The system – an individual, a population, or a human society – runs against the unfavorable environmental transformations provoked by its own activity. Endo-exogenous crises, including all anthropogenic (technogenic) ones, play a special role in evolution. As previous anti-entropy mechanisms turn counterproductive – being fraught with catastrophic entropy growth – a bifurcation phase develops. If migration is impossible, there are only two further possibilities. Either the system turns back to equilibrium – that is degrades (which is named simple attractor in synergetics) – or diverges from that owing to the development of advanced anti-entropy mechanisms. The last possibility is usually caused by inner diversity and structural complexity, and a more dynamic world model with higher resolving power and sensible feedback" (Nazaretyan 2005: 75–76).

From this perspective, all social systems face the potential of devastating crises in their ‘system-environment relations’, from which no previous culture may have survived intact. It is precisely those societies that are most highly invested in the production of war technologies that are most vulnerable to demise. Nazaretyan does, however, offer the possibility that more refined behavior regulation might allow for even their self-preservation. It would seem that such refined behavior for self-preservation would require an understanding of the stakes involved by the participants, as well as a capacity for the system to reorient itself more sustainably. There may be some evidence that this is actually happening within human culture, and it may indeed be the role of Big History to encourage this selfawareness to take place. In this sense, our culture would then perhaps be at the leading edge of many such cultures that have evolved over the eons. We might then engage in the effort to enable complexity-building to proceed beyond the barriers that entropy places before it. This is a startling perspective, but not nearly as arrogant as the position that humans are the be-all and end-all of the Universe, or as pessimistic as the view that all human-like cultures inevitably destroy themselves."


Source: Evolution: A Big History Perspective 2011, pp. 287–293


From: Mega-Evolution and Big History, by Akop P. Nazaretyan:

"The existence of hominids, including Homo sapiens, has not followed a natural course but has, to a great extent, been enabled by the balancing of technological power through cultural regulation. Disparities in the development of instrumental and self-regulative hypostases of culture caused outbursts of ecological and/or geopolitical aggression, which most often resulted in the destruction of society. The mechanism by which internally sustainable social systems are selected and unbalanced ones – discarded has so far enabled the preservation of humankind. As calculations show, although killing power of weapons and demographic densities have been successively growing for millennia, the ratio of human killings to population numbers has been non-linearly decreasing (Nazaretyan 2008, 2009, 2010a). Those calculations (and some others) have been conducted to check a corollary of the hypothesis, which arises from quite different empirical evidence, namely, the history of anthropogenic catastrophes and the following cultural revolutions since the Paleolithic. Summing up diverse information from cultural Anthropology, History, historical Psychology and current Ecology concerning anthropogenic crises, I suggest that there was a regular relationship between three variables: technological potential, cultural regulation quality, and society's internal sustainability. This pattern is called The Law of Techno-Humanitarian Balance: The higher the power of production and war technologies, the more developed behavior/regulation means are required for self-preservation of society.

Following this pattern, we can observe the progression of pan-human history, in spite of successive and dramatic replacement of leading cultures and continents. We see how one after another social organism fell into evolutionary deadlock, but humanity as a whole managed to find a way out. This was achieved by successive and irreversible leaps forward that included technological innovations, increasing information volume of the individual and social mind, complexity of social structures, and improvement of cultural values.

Seven wide-ranging anthropogenic crises and their resultant revolutions since the Lower Paleolithic have been considered. Each solution led to the next growth phase of the social system. On the whole, this process led to the distancing of society (the society/nature system) from the natural (wild) condition. This becomes clearer when we contrast, for example, hunting-gathering to agriculture (Neolithic Revolution) or farming to industry (Industrial Revolution), or industry to modern information economy (Information Revolution). Each of the revolutions broadened and deepened the human ecological niche, as well as furnished a new demographic transformation, new opportunities, new ambitions and new consumer demands. It thus led to overall improvement until a subsequent anthropogenic crisis began. In synergetic (complexity theory) terms, human history is the story of one ‘self-similar’ system that exists on the scale of a couple of million years and has been successively transforming itself to conserve sustainability (Christian 1991, 2004). From there, we may see the universal roots of human intelligence and morality without appeal to ‘God's Providence’. What we call biological or social ‘progress’ is neither an eternal purpose (a divine program) nor a movement ‘from worse to better’. It is a means of self-preservation by which a complex, far-from-equilibrium system responds to the challenges of reduced sustainability and to the effects of its own chain of successful adaptations. Thus, the informational parameters of world development bring a relevant ‘moral’ or self-regulation view to the evolutionary stage.

Hence, planetary civilization's prospects in the 21st ‘bifurcation century’ are concerned either with  a global fracture or a next drastic ‘digression from the natural condition’ spiral. This conclusion, which is based on long-term historical observations and analysis of relevant mechanisms, discredits numerous ‘back to nature’ claims and projects. "