In previous blogs about "the world according to Jack" I discussed why so many of the theories of cultural development are bogus. I theorized that the variation in development within various cultures around the world is primarily based on problems and the utilization of resources to solve those problems.
One of the issues people miss with all the self help actualization crap in our post industrial societies is that people are always the most important resource and we need to group together to survive.
Okay so why do people jockey for position within a society?
Lets dump all the self-help pseudo-psychological bullshit about self actualization.
We react to the opinions of others within our social groups because the survival of human beings, more than any other animal, depends on our ability to work together in a group.
Our need for socialization is based on our need to survive. Our survival as individuals depends on our position within our social group. This is why we freak out when people treat us badly and why people treat us badly. Even as children we jockey for our position within our social groups. In my opinion this is not a learned skill, we have a biological predisposition to socialize and jockey for position based on our need to group together to survive.
As individuals we have a predisposition to group together.
As individuals within that group we have a predisposition to encourage a group perception of our own importance over others within our group increasing our chances of survival within the group.
As groups and individuals we address perceived problems using resources in ways that the group can accept.
Acceptance of a particular solution is often based on a specific individuals ability to convince a group that solution presented by the individual is "best".
Once a group accepts a solution it will maintain that solution until the group can be convinced that the solution is no longer viable.
So the most important resource is not the technical accuracy of a solution, but, the charismatic ability of the presenter to encourage acceptance of their solution.
In other words, the most important resource is people.
The primary reason, in my opinion (IMO), that Europe jumped past other cultural groups is because Europe became the base of a religious movement willing to accept and educate almost anyone capable of learning and accepting the sovereign position of the religion. This religious movement collected and educated people for almost a thousand years. By collecting intelligent people together into specific areas for a very long time the religious group created the conditions necessary for a cultural technological leap.
Kind of ironic because the technological revolution we call the Renaissance actually helped destroy the political influence of the religious group. Where the solution to many problems had been "religion" it now became "science". Eventually the problems solved by "religion" or "science" will be solved by something else.
Most of the Cultural Anthropological developmental theories currently focus on resources and cross cultural communications. They don't focus on the influence of charismatic individuals.
Issac Asimov wrote a book where a mathematician came up with a way of predicting cultural change. Asimov postulated that a "wild card" in the form of a particularly charismatic individual destroyed the accuracy of these calculations.
I loved that when I was 13 or 14, whenever I read that book. Total horse crap.
It is always the influence of a particular individual presenting a solution which changes society.
That influence can be technological, however, technological solutions by less than charismatic individuals typically take a long time to become accepted.
Typically solutions provided by charismatic individuals, like the geocentric solution provided by Aristotle, are accepted regardless of technical accuracy.
Individuals can do very little to change a cultural group by themselves so they encourage others to work with them to initiate "change". If the individual assembles a large enough group initiating change to over come the resistance to change by other groups the change will occur. If the individual does not encourage or assemble enough people to work with them the change will not occur, regardless of technical accuracy of the solution.
The existence of these individuals promoting cultural change can be accurately predicted. The exact solutions which these individuals will support cannot be accurately predicted.
This is why capitalism is preferred by individuals as an economic system, we have a predisposition to enhance our position within the group to increase our chances for survival.
We help each other and defend the group we belong to because we have a predisposition to band together and survive.
There is a parable in Ecclesiastes about a city. The city was in trouble and no one knew what to do to save the city except for one poor man. The poor man knew he needed the group to survive so he presented his solution and was ignored. Eventually in desperation the city used the poor man's solution and was saved. Afterward they went back to ignoring the poor man.
This is a common story. Steve Wozniak created a solution and everyone ignored him. Steve Jobs marketed the solution and became a "great man". The solution presented by the charismatic person is accepted. Without the person the group perceives as "successful" or charismatic the solution is ignored irregardless of the accuracy of the solution or how many people the solution is presented to.
A perfect example is me. I'm the poor guy who wants to help the world become a better place because when the world is better things are better for me too.
I'm not Aristotle, more of a kind of Steve Wozniak, and until my "world according to Jack" torch is taken up by a charismatic presenter and then attributed to that presenter it won't get anywhere. And when it does become accepted I will be saying, "I wrote that years ago" and will be promptly ignored by the group for some flashy charismatic.
Life would be so much better if we could always identify the "Aristarchus" and the "Aristotle", the one with the correct solution. Instead we identify the charismatic.
So the bottom line is that people are the most important resource.
People have a predisposition to group together for survival.
People have a predisposition to jockey for position so that their
importance to the group will enhance their own chances for survival.
jockeying creates situations in which the individual presents solutions
to cultural problems are presented to and are accepted by the group
irregardless of the technical accuracy of the solution.