What is a Social system? Take 2

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Understanding Our Social Systems

Is it possible to study a system in isolation? Systemically speaking, the only possible answer is no. Hence to better understand our social systems, we need to unravel the ecosystem from which it emanates. This ecosystem is comprised of four levels. Each level is nested under the one above and each system contains 2 choreographies.

          1. Inorganic (Before life)
            1. The Protonic Choreography
            2. The Atomic Choreography
              1. Organic (Appearance and evolution of life)
                1. Abiogenetic Choreographies
                2. The Evolutionary Choreographies
                  1. Behavioural (Psychology of life)
                    1. The Speciation Choreography
                    2. Intraspecies Choreographies
                      1. Organizational (The organization of life)
                        1. Technological choreographies
                        2. Social Choreographies

However, before we go further we need to understand what a system is. This will help us better understand the ecosystem.

Understanding Systems

  1. Definition: A system is a process.
  2. Parts: A system is made of two parts
    1. Natural or artificial laws
    2. Natural or artificial elements
  3.  Results:
    1. The interactions of the parts create choreographies
  4. Description: There are two processes
    1. Natural
      1. Natural choreographies are created when the laws of physics: gravity, friction, magnetism, centrifugal force, etc., forces the natural elements to react recurrently with each other.
    2. Artificial
      1. Artificial choreographies are created when artificial laws, encourage or force human beings, to react recurrently with each other or with the technology they created.
  5. Levels
    1. In reality there is only one system, since all the processes derives from the first system. (See above.)

Understanding the levels

The first level system as to do with the universe that we live in, but more specifically with its inorganic matter; protons, elements and 10s of millions different types of inorganic molecules that are present in the universe.

The second level systems have to do with the appearance and diversification of life, thus with the various organic molecules and the various life forms. It is estimated that there are 9 million[1] different organic molecules and estimated  837 million different species[2] present on Earth.

The third level systems have to do with the behaviours of the various life forms. These behaviours are the result of the strengths and  weaknesses of each species and each individual as they take advantages of the opportunities that their environment offers or protect themselves from the threats of the said environment.

Finally, the fourth level derives from the ability of some social species like Homo sapiens[3] to create and use information to organize either technologically to help him meet his needs, or socially, to reduce conflict.

As you will see below, natural laws, behaviors and different capacities of species affect different parts of each system, creating a choreography.

The choreographies of the first three levels are coded in the protons, the elements, the molecules and the genes while the choreographies of the last level are coded by humans using the available information. Thus, fourth level systems are easier to change because all that needs to be done is to change the information used.

Some of the movements that create these choreographies are very fast, think of lightning bolts, while others are very slow, think of the life cycle of a star.

Level I – Inorganic System

The inorganic system is the only level one system[4] because it is the first system from which all other systems emanate from if the conditions are right.

The inorganic system is made of matter[5]. This system is the result of the natural laws of physics as they govern the interactions of protons as they produce elements and inorganic molecules. The movements from these interactions create two types of choreography: the protonic and the atomic choreography[6].

The Protonic Choreography

The laws of physics govern how protons form bounds with other protons to create the 94 natural elements found in the universe.

Each element is distinguished by the number of protons they possess.

For example, hydrogen (H) which is the lightest element, has only one proton. If two hydrogen atoms fuse together, they form an atom of helium (He) which has as 2 protons. The heaviest element[7] is plutonium (Pu) which has 94 protons.

These laws of physics also enable the bonds to be broken. Hence, an atom of helium which consists of two protons can be split into two atoms of hydrogen which contains only one proton each.

The Atomic Choreography

As elements are created, the laws of physics govern how atoms bounds with other atoms to form inorganic molecules. These regroup to form clouds which then transform into suns each one having a solar system which compose the billons of galaxies that form our universe. These laws are also responsible for the death of stars and their solar systems as stars explode into supernovae which creates the clouds that complete the cycle.

As we learn the laws of physics, we learn to understand the evolution of both choreographies and learn to predict the next steps.

Level II – Organic Systems

While still steered by the natural laws of physics, organic systems are the results of the natural laws of abiogenesis, which governs how inorganic matter generates biological life, and genetics, that govern how organic molecules and species interact and reproduce to facilitate the evolution of life.

Unlike the inorganic system, scientists hypothesize that there is more than one organic system, since abiogenesis has likely occurred in many solar systems as well as on several planets and moons in our own solar system.[8]

The movement of these organic molecules creates two types of choreography: abiogenetic and evolutionary.

Abiogenetic Choreographies

The laws of abiogenesis[9] govern how molecules form bounds with other molecules to produce organic molecules like carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acid, etc.,

We have not yet discovered which molecules are used in the processes that create life from inorganic matter, nor the steps that must be followed. However, the level of knowledge in this area is growing.

 The Evolutionary Choreographies

Once life is created, it can diversify. It does so either through errors of reproduction, interspecies mating or through natural selection as an individual adapts to the environment.

Errors of reproduction happen when the genes are incorrectly copied.  This causes small changes which gradually transforms a lifeform into another one.

Diversification may also happen as an individual of a species mate with an individual of other species. When they successfully mate, the descendants called a hybrid is often sterile, but some of them are not, thus participating in the diversification process.

Furthermore, as individual members of a species is better able to take advantage of the opportunities of the environment or is better able to protect itself from the threat of its environment, it is more able to pass these characteristics to his offspring’s, thus slowly changing the species.

As we discover the laws of abiogenesis and increase our knowledge of genetics and the impact the environment has on the various species, we learn to understand the evolution of both choreographies and we learn to predict their next steps.

Level III – Behavioural Systems

Behavioural systems are the results of the behaviours that all life form exhibit.

These behaviours are guided by the need to eat and reproduce, but also by the strengths and weaknesses of each species as well as the opportunities and threats present in the environment. This creates two types of choreographies: speciation and intraspecies.

 The Speciation Choreography

The speciation choreography is the results of the interactions of the various species and the environments that they share.

The strengths and  weaknesses of each species will affect how they react to the opportunities and threats of the environment which includes the presence of other species.

Some species will be looking to consume specific species who are themselves constantly on the lookout for their predators. Some species will learn to share the same environment while others create symbiotic relations that will be beneficial to both species.

The speciation choreography evolves as the number of species increase, as species evolve and as the environment changes.

The Intraspecies Choreography

The intraspecies choreography is the results of the interactions of the members of the same species as they share the same environment.

The strengths and  weaknesses of each individual will affect their capacity to take advantages of the opportunities. If they are more adapted, they will be able to eat better and reproduce more than those who are not. In addition, they will be able to protect themselves from threats from the environment more effectively.

By learning about the strengths and weaknesses of a species and how the environment presents opportunities and threats to their development, we learn to understand the evolution of both choreographies and we learn to predict the next steps of their respective choreography.

Level IV – Organizational systems

Although the laws of physics, genetics and speciation indirectly affect organizational systems, they are mostly the results of the ability of social beings to create and use information and to develop social constructions that will affect how they live in small, medium and large size groups.

In the case of human beings[10], organizational systems creates the following two choreographies: Technological and Social.

Technological choreographies

Our technological choreographies are the results of our ability to create and use information that helps us transform natural resources into tools. We create these tools to help us achieve some of our objectives.

Some of these technologies may have an impact on our social relationships and our genetical evolution.

For example, the invention of the spear helped weaker individuals protect themselves from stronger individuals, thus affecting the development of our social relations.

The same invention also affected the development of genetics has the weaker individuals increase their chance of transmitting  their genes. It even diminished the ability of the strongest to reproduce.

The more information we use to create our technologies are compatible with the laws of physics the more efficient these technologies are.

Social Choreographies

Our social choreographies are the results of our ability to reduce the level of social and societal tensions, frictions and conflicts that naturally arise because we are social beings.

To achieve this, we create social constructions from the information we possess and use them to encourage certain behaviours and discourage others. Hence we organize our social interactions to create a social order.

Social order also helps us resolve or manage these conflicts if we cannot prevent them.

The more the information we use to create our social constructions  are compatible with the laws of physics, of genetics and psychology, the more efficient is the social order to prevent, resolve and manage conflicts.

As we learn about how the available information influences the creation of social constructions and how these affect the level of social and societal tensions, frictions and conflicts, we learn to understand the evolution of social order and we learn to predict the next steps of the choreographies.

Understanding Social Constructions

In its simplest form, a house is a construction made with pieces of wood that are nailed together to form the structure, the roof, the walls, the doors and the windows. What keeps this construction together are the nails.

If the house remains vacant, it will remain in the environment until the wood breaks down.

A social construction is an abstract construction because it’s made from abstract material. These materials are languages, ideas, beliefs and knowledge.

What keeps social constructions together are human beings. If human beings stop using them, social constructions disappear completely.

[1] https://www.britannica.com/science/chemical-compound

[2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110823180459.htm

[3] It is possible that 4th level systems are created by other species, but I leave this discussion to species specific specialists.

[4] Some physicists theorize that there are other universes. If so, then there would be more than just 1 protonic system. Would there be sub levels? It would depend on whether life is possible in this new universe. If there is then, it would be possible to have a 3rd and a 4th-level system as well. Although, other universes are theoretically possible, in this article we focus on our own universe.

[5] The universe is made of about 1 to 10% of matter.

[6] Physicists would surely be able to identify other choreographies resulting from the general relativity or the quantum field theories.

[7] Plutonium is the heaviest natural element, the element that has the most protons, but humans have created 24 synthetic elements. The heaviest of these elements is Oganesson with 118 protons.

[8] This does not mean that there is a life form like human beings, but life is possible elsewhere.

In our own solar system, scientists think that life was present on Mars and may be present on Venus. Life may also be present on some of the moons of Jupiter; Europa, Callisto and Ganymede as well as on some of the moons of Saturn; Enceladus and Titan

[9] These laws have not been defined yet.

[10] Other social animals may develop their own information  system.