Hinge point of another imagined order – Part 1

“Without hope it is difficult to overcome adversity”

In “the Titanic orchestra” I believe having said a lot about the effects of the lack of memory on the history of pandemics, the aggravation of the poverty and inequality, the need for changes in the social order, the use of technologies to control humanity and other denials that merited an account of the difficult situation created by COVID19.

Later, thinking about the use of technology in solidarity, to supply the weak economies of vulnerable society, “the ownerless hammer” was born, which hammered on the need for a social solidarity effort supported by the use of technological tools.

I believed I had completed my purpose of witnessing the crises of the moment that humanity is living and adding a point of view regarding the need for a change of social order, however, an article published in “La opinión”[1] that considers the Twenty-First Century as the moment of change and “turning point” of the planet motivated me to raise new doubts about its effects on social organization, a step further in trying to warn likely changes in this universal situation.

… the future in our hands…

It seems obvious to say it, but it is not bad to remember the hinge as the place of union or articulation of two elements or an element that acts as an intermediary between two of them, by analogy, there are two universal moments that operate in the article of La opinion: between the elapsed time until the twentieth century, and what is going to happen in the XXII century on, the twenty-first century would be the “hinge point”, with impact in the history of mankind.

This comes with the scientific and technological discoveries that in the last two centuries have provided us with greater powers to transform the environment in which we live, ourselves, and our successors.

Our habitat the Earth has existed for 45 million years, but in the Twenty-First Century, it is the first time that a species, ours, has the “ability” to irreversibly degrade the biosphere or take a wrong path with technology and cause a catastrophic setback to civilization.

The odds that the world will end in this same century are quite high, predicts the aforementioned article. We have created threats that our ancestors never had to face, such as nuclear war or engineered killer pathogens and we do not do enough to prevent them from happening, the world spends more money on ice cream than on keeping at bay technologies that can end our lives.

There is a possibility that the Twenty-First Century will present a sophisticated artificial intelligence transformed into super-intelligence whose management can determine the future of our civilization, both provoking a force that seeks the good of all, and a government that uses such power to manage its dissidents.

The article concludes: We cannot say that our time will or will not be the most influential, but if we can say with more certainty that we have a growing power to shape the lives and well-being of billions of people who will live tomorrow, for better or for worse.

An order…?

At present, the rule of law points out to society the path by which one can move freely towards survival, but a biological warning is enough, so that humanity must move in very different conditions.

It is worth the metaphor of the roads, to pay attention to the scope of poverty and social inequality enhanced by the pandemic, which lead us to think about modifying the permissive order of ambitions, authoritarianism and improvisation of the ruling classes today.

Perhaps this is the time to debate the goals and responsibilities that lead the universe to agree a new order with the human being as the highest priority.

What is the intended social order…? How would the management of a different social order be sustained….? What will be the final meaning of such an order…? Will a consensus be possible on the change of order in society…?

Such are the reasons that led me to seek answers in the thoughts of some intellectuals concerned about it.

….the “imagined order” and the egalitarian society…

The writer Yuval Noah Harari calls it” imagined order “[2] which supposes the equality of ”biologically unequal” humans supporting inequality in their refusal to accept any order that interferes with their freedom.

Biological science claims that people were not created but have evolved “and not equally” expresses Harari.  Evolution is based on difference not equality, each person has a different genetic code and is exposed to different environmental influences.

Those who advocate for equality and Human Rights will say: “we know that from biology, people are not equal” but, if we believe that we are all equal in essence, we can create a stable and prosperous society.

Faced with the tragic scenario that affects the humanity and shakes its nature and also its freedoms, I find in Harari’s opinion[3] some additional questions: What kind of society will emerge from this pandemic…? Will the countries be more united or more isolated…? Would surveillance tools be used to protect the citizens, or oppress them…?

To begin with, I wonder how was the origin of the association that facilitated the survival of humanity?

From gatherers to producers

Anthropology explains the origin of the survival of the human species in the hunting of ruminants and the collection of wild fruits and seeds by nomadic groups of individuals united by kinship.

For five million years, the volume of the human brain grew, and his ability to store and transmit information evolved.  Those with the greatest brains survived, who organized groups to hunt, reported some danger and in the face of threats, created strategies of attack and defense.

The most important transformation in the history of mankind was the Holocene or advent of a climate change that allowed the agricultural revolution.

Agriculture emerged in the East about 10,000 years ago and expanded into Europe, where over thousands of years it replaced the hunter-gatherers of the Middle Stone Age period. This change in the way of life represents the largest demographic transition experienced by the species.

Their concentration in population groups and the organization of agricultural production achieved a better supply of goods and the generation of surpluses that they learned to exchange.

“The nature being domesticated”, the era of regulating rules of work and behavior began, already implicit in the work habits and customs of coexistence.

Thus, this was the beginning of the order, which for the best or for the worst turned out to be the foundation of the one that currently sets limits on behaviors and tries to control deviations.

….A social order needed for coexistence

The social order is a system of frameworks and interactions, which receives feedback and is reproduced while maintaining the relations of production, property, power, culture, ideology, or values.   Its validity includes the “disorder”, the social conflicts and the” dissension ” of the non-conformists.

The fundamental problem of the quest for a social order was for Rousseau “to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before.”[4] .

….Different historical conceptions of the social order

Throughout history, the behavior followed different approaches defined as minimum standards of behavior.

For Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, fourth century BC) the social order was about the imposition or consensus of norms that guided the conduct of individuals preserving the values of equality, order, progress, equity, etc.

Machiavelli (The Prince, sixteenth century AD) instead held that the individual has the freedom to act according to his own interests.

In both works, the human is the way. Aristotle raises the need to train model citizens with virtues: liberality, magnificence, meekness, justice, equity, prudence, wisdom, etc, Machiavelli, by contrast, points to a period in which the affairs of social organization remain in the hands of the monarch, the guarantor of peace through coercion or obedience of the population.

Men need each other to survive but, in their interrelation, new conflicts are generated and different from those that led to their association (Hedgehog’s dilemma).   The question of how-to live-in communion with others still awaits answer.

In the extrapolation of experiences, we can find explanations that serve as a guide in the search for a lasting social order, but not as bases for a new order that ensures coexistence today.

Some countries of the region today update the Machiavellian thinking in their order of coexistence, circumstances have led to forget the fundamental values described by Aristotle.[5]


[1] “Hinge moment” of human history. What is it? https://laopinion.com/2020/10/25/por-que-algunos-expertos-creen-que-estamos-en-el-momento-bisagra-de-la-historia-de-la-humanidad/
[2] Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens, from animals to gods (2013)
[3] Yuval Noah Harari “ to be a patriot is to sustain a good health system, pay taxes” https://elpais.com/ideas/2020-10-23/yuval-noah-harari-ser-patriota-es-sostener-un-buen-sistema-sanitario-pagar-impuestos.html
Yuval Noah Harari: “covid can lead to the worst totalitarian system that has ever existed, https://www.elconfidencial.com/cultura/2020-10-27/yuval-noah-harari-sapiens-entrevista_2806276/
[4] J. J. Rousseau: The Social Contract (1762)
[5] The foundations for the construction of social order in the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle and the Prince of Machiavelli, https://ambulemusinluminedei.blogspot.com/2014/07/los-fundamentos-para-la-construccion.htm





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