John Collier, expert in complex systems and information theories, when Visiting Scholar at the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (BCSSS) in Vienna only recently, made up his mind on the red thread of his keynote speech at the Summit.
Collier will carry us on a tour d’horizon from natural evolution to the constitution of values and a valuable future of information society.
Starting off with information accounts in a dynamical perspective, Collier will tell us which principles apply across evolutionary levels (like Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s isomorphies). He will focus on the application of those principles to social systems and end up with a view on the political organisation of society.
Here he finds an opposition of two management styles:
- either you have an entrainment of the elements of the social system by a rather deterministic top-down control, which involves high costs for the system to be maintained (in prehuman systems this is the waste of thermodynamical or chemical energy);
- or you have an entrainment by facilitation.
The latter style is the one that needs to be preferred and prioritised. It includes giving an equal chance for everybody to realise herself in a rather self-determined way without enabling them to dominate others. Here you have the rational core of the ideal of anarchy, Collier says. In his terms, it seems not an individualistic approach. It’s rather unity through diversity – another reminiscence of Bertalanffy. Exaggerated individualism would make the system fall apart.
What regards the implementation of such a system, Collier is very clear: you learn from the experience of the latest new social movements like the OccupyX that social change is not achievable when doing without any leadership.