C-76. “Social”

“Social,” in so far as it pertains to relationships involving behavioral entities, can be seen as passing through three incremental phases, producing a social fabric of increasing compoundness and complexity during the historical ascension of contingent emergent materiality (CEM: App. XI).

In the first phase, soon after “Big Bang,” the behavioral entities are social in consequence of their multiplicity. In this sense “gravity” and “orbiting” are social characterizations. So are collisions. Mostly hard collisions.

In the second phase, some of the multiple behavioral entities have become multi-step takers. They arrange and avoid hard collisions, primarily in consequence of bodily needs (e.g., “energy” and reproduction) and in regard to collision consequences (i.e., back-loading).

In the third phase, some of the multi-step takers have become step makers too. They are improved arrangers and avoiders of hard collisions but notable in their capability to arrange soft collisions – especially to compose collisions of and with other behavioral entities (i.e., front-loading).

We see via these phases a progression of social toward community: Community in the broadest possible sense – i.e., of any constructed behavioral entity (e.g., friends, partners, families, neighbors, towns, corporations, nations). A progression most notable and evident along CEM’s biological, then cognitive-communicative-compositional, then toward community. (“Toward” because community has not yet been all that well realized functionally.)

Here in the frontier we must deal with all three facets of being social: alert, for example, to changes in weather and climate (among many other circumstantial changes [II]), to the steps taken by others and their probable consequences, to the possibilities of constructive efforts undertaken alone and with others. Neglect of the distinctions among social-1, social-2 and social-3 complicates already troublesome problem solving. Circumstances such as world population and population density increases impact all three facets.

As the social fabric has developed we have become increasingly social in this cumulative sense, but we have advanced toward community haltingly, often producing community ad hoc to deal with congregated aggregates (e.g., at favorable geographical locations).

Social puts a multiplication factor on both our behavioral problem and our situational problems (I). It also invites academic attention as “social psychology,” tellingly as two different courses in departments in psychology and sociology. In neither department is there a vigorous, positive program of community experimentation (C-10), of front-loaded development and research. Their curricula dwell on (back-loaded) description and correlational findings. In this they follow the historic path of social control via negative sanctions (e.g., commandments, statutes, norms), with little attention to composition as a needed process capability, and with more emphasis on control system (e.g., “power structure”) than operating system development (C-36) – especially community development. (Relying more on evolution than development? When now, with the strength available from front-loading principles, we could be composing CMY’s with more functionality, positivity and consequentiality.)

The dynamic relations of individual and community (XI; App. XVII), which require compositional capability to produce community and then for community to be productive, appear to be the grounding needed to move social ahead toward community. These I x CMY dynamics give us a basis to which we can introduce and attach other behavioral dynamics implicit in the behavioral problem that is community.

(c) R.F. Carter