Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 12 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/15/08

Does the 2008 US Presidential Race Really Matter?

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   13 comments
Message Michael Byron
Become a Fan
  (24 fans)

Will contributing time and money to the Obama campaign, or just voting for Obama make any meaningful difference as to how the future unfolds? Conversely, does time and energy spent working for an Obama victory simply detract from applying these assets towards working for real societal transformation? I believe that evaluating these questions from a systems theory perspective provides insight on their resolution.

Global society constitutes a complex adaptive system. All systems possess three fundamental attributes:

1)      Interconnectedness. A set of units or elements are interconnected so that changes in any element or elements produce changes in all. A change in any part of such a system causes rippling changes throughout every part of a system.

2)      Emergence. The system as a whole possesses collective properties which are qualitatively different from, and not reducible to, the properties of its constituent elements. The wetness of a water molecule is not reducible to the properties of its constituent hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Similarly, consciousness is not reducible to the properties of individual neurons.

3)      Boundedness. All systems possess a definite boundary between system and not system. This boundary may be closed or open. For complex systems, it is open.

Complex systems have unpredictable outputs. They process information and transform themselves in accordance with the results of their information processing. This is particularly true for complex systems composed of conscious elements such as human beings.

Because global human society is a complex adaptive system, its configuration is determined by the results of its information processing. All such systems may be said to evolve along a fitness landscape. As such they possess trajectories through this landscape or, as I usually call it, through learning space.

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

Above, I’ve included examples for a fitness landscape and its associated trajectory for human civilization from a paper I presented in 1997 at a conference on sociocybernetics at the University of Amsterdam. Once a complex system such as human civilization is reduced to a computer simulation, its fitness landscape and trajectory become readily apparent. The full text of the paper is available at: for anyone interested in following this topic up in more depth. [Note: If these images do not appear above, they can be found at: and at: .]

Because people learn and have goals, society as a whole has goals and attempts to “learn” its way towards the attainment of these goals. Security, comfort of life, and health are fundamental goals for all humans. Attempts at ordering society through law, fairly and impartially enforced by a government, which is responsive to the citizenry, represent one such goal. Another goal has been the provisioning of public goods. Basically, we have sought both to develop ever greater organizational “software” for governance, in conjunction with ever more powerful “hardware” for the provision of material goods. 

In a system everything that happens causes rippling changes throughout the system. Consider our present day world: We have had limited success with developing the “software” needed to create what we would intuitively recognize as a just and humane society. We have recently been somewhat more successful at the provisioning of material goods, thanks primarily to cheap hydrocarbon energy. This material success has led us to the point where nearly seven billion humans are artificially sustained by the rapid release of chemical energy stored in oil and other hydrocarbons. However, availability of these resources must begin to decline ever more precipitously, and beginning soon.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Michael Byron Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Michael P Byron is the author of The Path Through Infinity's Rainbow: Your Guide to Personal Survival and Spiritual Transformation in a World Gone Mad. This book is a manual for taking effective action to deal with the crises of our age including (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Sanders Campaign As Revolt Against Clinton's Neoliberalism

How to Defeat BOTH Trump AND Clinton in November.

Clinton NEVER!

Nothing on Earth Can Save Us

Endgame for a Traitor

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend