Full Title: The Psychohistorical-Dialectical Equation of Human-Social Formations ‘Meta-Evolution’.
To address the question “Psychohistory – Is It Feasible?”, It might be helpful to walk through a “psychohistorical equation” that, F.E.D. claims, it has already constructed.
Given the background provided in previous posts to this thread, plus some further background that I will provide here, as the need for it arises, I’m prepared to narrate, in this and in my next few posts, one of the seven F.E.D. psychohistorical-dialectical equations:
Equation #4, The Equation of Human Social Formations ‘Meta-Evolution’.
The “social formations” addressed in the title of this equation should be understood to be objects of, in the first analysis, the science of “human geography”.
Such formations are, in part, “landscape features”, produced by local units of the human species – ‘meta-geological formations’, sitting atop “geological formations”.
This equation is formulated via the NQ_ psychohistorical algebra.
This equation, in accord with the F.E.D. principle of ‘chrono-empiricism’, categorially “reconstructs” the past history of human social formation(s), in an order of categorial emergence that reproduces the actual, historical, chronological order-of-appearance of the successive kinds of human-social formations so far manifested and known on planet Earth, as revealed by recent archaeological-anthropological research.
This equation also categorially ‘pre-constructs’, or “predicts”, two stages of further kinds of such human social formations, as yet not manifested on planet Earth.
The expanding ‘spaces of human socio-ontological categories’ posited in each successive epoch of this equation – for each successive value of its epoch parameter, t – are interpreted, by F.E.D., as “possibility spaces”, not as spaces of that which is certain to have been actualized in any given such epoch.
The categories that first explicitly appear in the “non-amalgamative sum” of category-symbols – in the ‘poly-qualinomial’ – that is generated per this equation for a given value of t, do not assert that the ‘socio-ontological’ content that they represent must have actualized in that tth epoch, but, on the contrary, only that it is possible for that content to be actualized in that epoch.
However, the actualization of that content is asserted, by this equation, to be impossible in those prior equation-epochs in which those categories’ symbols were not generated by this equation.
F.E.D. itself tells us that Foundation Encyclopedia Dialectica was founded, in real history, like Foundation Encyclopedia Galactica, in Asimov’s fictional [his]story, for the purpose of mitigating a deadly Dark Age into which civilization was falling – Galactic Civilization, in Asimov’s fiction, and our own, planetary civilization, in actuality, now, as is obvious for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
If the efforts of all of us to avert the present descent into a New/Final Dark Age on Earth fail, then all bets are off as to the actualization of the next new kinds of social formations predicted to be possible by this equation, as interpreted here, and also as to the actualization of the Global Renaissance that their fruition will require, and also catalyze.
The progression of kinds of human-social formations that this psychohistorical-dialectical equation encodes, based upon the findings of recent anthropology and archaeology, were summarized by Robert Wright, in his year-2000 book Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, as follows –
“Archaeologists speak of six “pristine” civilizations – states that arose indigenously, and weren’t merely copied from a nearby civilization, or imposed on the populace by conquest.”
“The standard six are: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Mesoamerica, South America, China, and the civilization of the Indus River valley (about which relatively little is known) in south Asia.”
“Some scholars throw in West Africa as well.”
“Calling West African civilization pristine is something of an exaggeration, given earlier contact with states to the north."
"Then again, calling some of the standard six “pristine” states pristine is a bit of a stretch.”
“Indus script (still undeciphered) may have been inspired by Mesopotamia, which was exchanging memes with Egypt as well. And some diffusion, however thin, probably linked South America (the Inca and their cultural ancestors) and Mesoamerica (Aztecs, Maya, and others)”.
“Still, even after granting these early and occasionally momentous contacts, we are left with three large realms of ancient civilization, quite removed from each other: China, the Near East, and the New World."
"The scholarly consensus is that each developed its energy and information technologies – farming and writing – indigenously. And each underwent its early civilizational history in essential isolation from the others.”
“Yet, in all three cases, the same thing happened.”
“The trend that had gotten humanity to the verge of civilization – bands getting big enough to qualify as villages, which then got bigger and more complex and combined to form chiefdoms – continued.”
“The chiefdoms’ villages evolved into something more like towns, which themselves got bigger and more complex. In all three regions, loosely defined city-states – urban cores surrounded by farmlands and villages and towns – seem to have evolved (though in some places, such as Egypt and the Andes, the “city” part of the state may have been so small as to stretch the definition of the term).”
“And these city-states merged, forming multicity states, and these multicity states grew into empires.”
“Sure, there were setbacks aplenty – droughts, barbarian hordes, and other catalysts of epic collapse – but in the long run the setbacks proved temporary. (Indeed, the setbacks attest to ongoing progress; their increasing vastness charts the growing magnitude of the systems that are being set back).”
“So there you have it – ancient history in a nutshell: onward and upward, to higher levels of social complexity.”
[Pantheon Books [NY: 2000], pp. 108-109, emphasis added by M.D.].
The passage above is, perhaps, the most succinct overall summary of the succession of ancient social formation-kinds that Wright’s book sets forth.
The summary above leaves out one kind of early human social formations, between the “band” and the “village” formations, that figures elsewhere in Wright’s book: “camps”.
Including that category, the succession of ‘human socio-ontology’ that Wright documents, ordered below in the historical order-of-appearance of this ‘human socio-ontology’, is as follows [wherein we are using EMR visible-light spectrum colors order to emphasize chronological / categorial order] –
1. Small “bands” of proto-human hunter-gatherers;
2. Quasi-stable “home bases”, or “camps”, combined episodic settlements of multiple “bands”;
3. Settled “villages”, combining multiple [former] “camps”;
4. Proto-state “tribes”, or “chiefdoms”, combining multiple “villages”;
5. Multi-tribe “city-states”, combining multiple “tribes” or “chiefdoms”;
6. Multi-city-state “empires”, combining multiple “city-states”.
After the collapse of multi-city-state “empires”, and, in particular, after the collapse of the Roman empire, circa 500 C.E. [or circa 455 C.E.], into the abyss of the ~thousand-years European Dark Ages, a seventh category of human social formations ‘socio-ontology’ came to be instantiated.
After a re-emergence, in modern Europe, of “city-states” in the European Renaissance that succeeded the European Dark Ages, and of multi-city-state “empires”, the –
7. “nation-states”, uniting fragmentary territorial remains of multiple past, fallen “empires”.
– made their first appearance in Terran human history.
Now, in first impression, relying on habitual modes of thinking that are ‘sub-psychohistorical’ in their insightfulness, these seven ‘socio-ontological’ categories – especially the later three – may seem to be addressing merely external “physical objects”; “objective”, monumental social infrastructures with no psychological, ‘«psyche»-ic’, cognitive content, and, thus with no “psychohistorical” content.
However, a little further and deeper thought on the subject will reveal that key advances in the non-genomic, acquired characteristics of human beings, advances in human learning, in human culture, in the human “memes-pool”, and in its integrated totality as “The Human Phenome” – advances in collective human-species psychology – as well as, perhaps, in Human-Phenome-supporting, survival-selected aspects of “The Human Genome”, are required for human agents to become capable of creating – and of sustaining, across generations – the progression of ‘socio-ontology’ listed above.
Thus, this progression is indeed, and eminently so, a psychohistorical fact, a dimension of human psychohistory.
F.E.D. has developed a key concept for the processes that link together a chain of emergent ontologies such as that exhibited in our list above.
This concept seems to capture a key component of the architectonic of the universe as a whole – within both of its sub-realms, (1) that of pre-human / extra-human Nature, and (2) that of human Nature; that of human artefacts, and of human technological-ontological innovations – an architectonic which re-appears again and again within many different “scales” and “levels” of the history, and of the constitution, of the cosmos.
They name that concept, variously, ‘meta-individualization’, ‘meta-unit-ization’, ‘meta-«monad»-ization [«monad» is ancient Greek for “unit”], and ‘meta-holon-ization’ [a ‘‘‘holon’’’ is a potential or actual “part” of a greater whole, that is a “whole” in itself, but that may also be composed of ‘sub-parts’ that are earlier-arisen “holons”, and that may also go on to form the parts of later, higher wholes – later, higher ‘holons’].
Thus, in the cosmological context, each “molecule” can be grasped as a “meta-individual” of “atoms” as “logical individuals”, each typical molecule being made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “atoms”.
A “multicellular organism” can be grasped as a “meta-individual” of certain “cellular” logical individuals, each typical “multicellular organism” being made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of living cells. And so on.
F.E.D. terms such a chain of recurrent, iterated “meta-individualizations” a “spatio-temporal qualo-fractal” or “synchronico-diachronic qualo-fractal”.
They do so because such a formation exhibits a content-structure characterized by scaled “self-similarity” recurrence along the time dimension, that is, in the “chronology domain”, as well as in the “snapshot domain” of momentary, physical-spatial, present-moment cross-section scaled self-similarity – with both the temporal and the spatial scales-progressions being finite in extent, not [purportedly] infinite, as in “mathematical” [quanto-]fractals.
In this light, we can redefine our progression of socio-ontological formations as follows –
1. The ensemble of “bands” constitute the «arché» formation for this “meta-model’;
2. A typical “camp” is a “meta-band”, made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “bands”;
3. A typical “village” is a “meta-camp”, made up of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “camps”;
4. A typical “chiefdom” is a “meta-village” unit, made of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “villages”;
5. A typical “city-state” is a “meta-chiefdom”, made of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “chiefdoms”;
6. A typical “empire” is a “meta-city-state” unit, made of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “city-states”;
7. A typical “nation-state” is a “meta-empire” unit, uniting fragmentary territorial remains of multiple past, fallen “empires”.
The psychohistorical-dialectical equation “meta-model” for this progression can be expressed as follows –
m>-|-<t = < b >^(2^t)
– wherein the “cumulum” symbol, ‘m>-|-<t’, denotes an historical cumulum of the human social formations ‘socio-ontology’, that has appeared in history up to and including epoch t, as opposed to the kind of synchronic “snapshot” accumulation of ontological category-symbols as of presentation-step s, denoted by that other kind of “cumulum” symbol, ‘)-|-(s’, used in previous posts.
The angular brackets, “<”, and “>” around the “«arché»-category” symbol, here b –
< b >
– also signify a psychohistorical “chronology” kind of “meta-model”, rather than the “snapshot” kind of “meta-model”, signified by curvaceous brackets, e.g., the –
( N_ )
– of our previous post.
This “psychohistorical-dialectical equation” expressed above is also often described, by the F.E.D., as a “meta-equation”, because the expression above generates a qualitatively different equation for each value of the t epoch counter, and is thus “a meta-equation, made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “mere” equations”.
Since each such “mere equation” represents a “model”, the “meta-equation” above represents “a meta-model, made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “mere” models”.
Each “mere model”, contained in this “meta-model” – each “mere equation’, contained in the “meta-equation” given above – must be solved, term-by-term, not for a “number”, but for a “meaning” – for the “definition” of the category represented by the term / symbol to be “solved”.
F.E.D. has documented their algorithm for such term-by-term solution of such psychohistorical-dialectical equations, which they name “the organonic algebraic method”, via the following URLs –
The documentation linked-to above is for solving the “snapshot” kind of “meta-models”, not for the “chronology” kind of “meta-models”.
F.E.D. has not yet published their documentation of the version of the “organonic algebraic method” for solving the “chronology” kind of “meta-models”.
However, the core of that technique for solving their “chronology” kind of “meta-models”, as I have reconstructed it from reading their solutions of several such models, is fairly straightforward, and I will outline it in my next post.