Primitive simplicity of politics against social complexity
January 12, 2012
Recognizing that the society has become complex suggests that the truth about social issues, public interest or common good is not a single truth, but rather that there are a variety of well-founded and equally valid truths that must co-exist and be reconciled by human deliberation. Social complexity means there are different views about the most important issues in a society. Socially complex issues share no common denominator; different views must be embraced as in relation rather than in opposition.
Recognition of social complexity—and the impoverished political simplicity no longer adequate to its charter—has important consequences for how we go about understanding of social issues. This in turn determinates our future aspirations and approach to social struggles regarding how we want to collectively re-construct sociality. Put bluntly, Industrial-Era politics have failed, and new methods must be found to achieve political reconciliation among agonistic perspectives. There is no more hope for complete unity and consensus in principal social concerns. But these concerns are few and abstract. Everyday life is not lived in abstract world. The matter of everyday life is hybrid, ephemeral and so of “minor importance” to everybody.
Today politics and politicians make every effort necessary to operate in every aspect of our everyday life in a way that would only be justified for categorical matters, such as freedom, autonomy and sovereignty. Social complexity does not respond to political simplification; it demands that the 99% restore its powers of self governance of their everyday life. Put simply: complexity can only be “managed” by bottom-up agility, clarity, diversity, and integrity—it cannot be managed, much less controlled, by a top down “elite” or “planned” strategy.
This is no longer an ideological battle on a simple choice between static extremes (left – right) but rather a battle for a paradigm shift towards some totally different sort of democracy and capitalism – the capitalist oligarchy is now seen as being just as dictatorial and just as ineffective as communist or military or theocratic dictatorships. The alternative is some new form of society emerging from the bottom-up and also reconstructing from the remains of the collapse or at least from the end of legitimacy of the Ancien Régime of oligarchic global neoliberalism.
New social order is arising with social progression towards increased complexity. This new and constantly adaptive order will emerge entirely new form of sociality which is based on cohabitation between the System (hierarchical controlled bureaucratic apparatus) and Anti-System (open transparent truthful civil society).
The Big Split between the two has been inevitable—Occupy and suicidal veterans are a manifestation of the cognitive dissonance so prevalent in today’s failed System—but need not to lead to the split within nation states if the social contract is rewritten so as to totally protect autonomy of community members and autonomy of lower level communities in all relevant issues for governance of their everyday life. Put in Constitutional terms, this means that the autonomy of local and state or provincial communities must be restored, and the “top-down” false authority and ineffective regulation of the national apparatus sharply reduced.
The realization that social issues are complex simply means that they have to be evaluated in the golden ratio of their duality, stretched between the explanation of their primary meanings – which are constitutive for them (left, right, green, utopic…), but in an incommensurable and deeply dividing way – and the explanation of their secondary (more ephemeral) meanings that are the only ones that lead to a holistic view, but merely in contents that are not of primary importance to anyone. In simple language: politicians are corrupt and unable to govern; the time has come for self-governance, for Panarchy, for an end to all forms of unjust and uninformed “control.” The government is a virus on the emerging synthesis, the free citizen is “root.”
“Evaluation and management of complex social matters” (http://www.sdeval.si/Publikacije-za-komisijo-za-vrednotenje/Primary-and-Secondary-in-Policy-Evaluation.html);
“Synthesis in policy impact Assessment” (http://www.sdeval.si/Publikacije-za-komisijo-za-vrednotenje/Meso-Matrical-Synthesis-of-the-Incommensurable.html);
“Movement 99” (http://www.sdeval.si/Objave/Movement-99-Through-Exclusion-to-the-Community.html; abstract only);
“Multilevel research of social issues” (http://www.sdeval.si/Publikacije-za-komisijo-za-kodekse-in-standarde/Vec-nivojski-vidik-druzbene-kompleksnosti.html, abstract only)
Phi Beta Iota: Reference to Occupy and suicidal veterans added by Robert Steele with permission of the author. Others, notably Henry Kissinger, J. F. Rischard, and Wolfgang Reinicke, have made similar points but with less appreciation for bottom-up social self-organization. The core point, however, is not about efficacy–which government assuredly lacks–but legitimacy. Much can be forgiven when legitimacy is present. Max Manwaring is the primary articulator of this observation in the English language.
CITATION: Bojan Radej, “Primitive simplicity of politics against social complexity”, Journal of Public Intelligence (Online), 12 January 2012 [http://www.phibetaiota.net]