Friday, December 23, 2011

Ecosystem, holism and social order

On the need to rethink our concepts and their true origins. I've never been fond of self-organizing networks. You cant really rely on them to build, only to deconstruct randomly. 

"As a political position it is obviously very irritating for TV interviewers, which may or may not be a good thing. And it doesn't necessarily mean it isn't a valid way for organising protests – and possibly even human society. But I thought I would tell the brief and rather peculiar history of the rise of the idea of the "self-organising network".
Of course some of the ideas come out of anarchist thought. But the idea is also deeply rooted in a strange fantasy vision of nature that emerged in the 1920s and 30s as the British Empire began to decline. It was a vision of nature and – ultimately – the whole world as a giant system that could stabilise itself. And it rose up to grip the imagination of those in power – and is still central in our culture.
But we have long forgotten where it came from. To discover this you have to go back to a ferocious battle between two driven men in the 1920s. One was a botanist and Fabian socialist called Arthur Tansley. The other was one of the most powerful and ruthless rulers of the British Empire, Field Marshal Jan Smuts."

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