An exploration of an emergent ethos
In this series of posts, we will explain the ground from which emerges the values and ethos that drives and sustains the NaturalMedicine community on Steem. This is the basis on which choices are made for creating and curating #naturalmedicine content. It draws on the models found in natural systems to create and establish creative, thriving, sustainable communities. As a whole, it forms a manifesto that the community draws on for inspiration, discussion, and inter-personal discovery.
If you haven’t read Part 5 Natural systems — natural system of the human being we invite you now to read that first. Otherwise, please continue …
In the previous post we considered the possibility that the human being is a microcosm of a natural system. Keeping with this theme, we are going to ‘chunk up’ and consider the possibility that human communities and societies are also a system, made up of individual systems that are humans.
This isn’t a new idea: the Confucian scholars of China during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) compared each of the organs of the body to a specific office or ministry within the Imperial government. For example, the heart was likened to the Emperor, the digestive system likened to the Minister in charge of grain production and storage, and the bowels were likened to the Minister responsible for clearing waste from the city.
Human communities are like super-organisms. Each of us are as individual cells, each responsible for some function of the society. The problem is that we don’t necessarily see ourselves in this way, nor do we structure our communities, cities, or societies in this way. The more we move into a global civilisation, the more we are going to need to look to models that maintain the integrity of the system at large scales.
The natural world offers such a model. We only need to look at the Amazon rainforest to see an example of a huge eco-system with massive diversity of both plant, animal, (and human) to see how a super-system could work. The reality is that it does work, and all parts of the system are inter-dependent and work for mutual benefit; that is until modern humans decide to tamper and mess around with the system!
A lot of the philosophical work behind decentralised cybernetic systems draw on these kinds of models. In these types of systems there is no ‘single authority’ that makes decisions and determines what the parts must (or must not) do. The system ‘governs itself’ based on homeostasis, feedback loops, adaptations, and reciprocal transactions. The key difference that a ‘natural community’ has to a ‘human community’ is that nothing is ever forced. All the inter-related parts go about their business, with nothing other than the goal of thriving and continuing the species. There is still competition for resources, but there are natural checks-and-balances that are in place to maintain homeostasis.
Thriving growth in a natural system comes from an open feedback loop. There always has to be some kind of feedback (sometimes in the form of resources) that come from outside the system, that allows adaptation and change. This is how you get multiple systems that influence each other (exosystems). As one changes and grows, the effects will influence how neighbouring systems continue to grow (or not). This is the essence of diversity.
Diversity is the presence of other systems that provide external feedback, it provides for change and adaptation. Mono-cropping is notoriously damaging to the immediate natural environment; where as poly-cropping or permaculture systems actually give something back (provide value) to the immediate and surrounding environment.
So too in human communities. We need diversity of physiologies, ideas, opinions, tastes, trends, appearances, skills, talents, and so on to allow the community to grow, change, adapt, and thrive.
While it could be argued that human settlements originated following such principles, the way we have established our cities and societies over the last ten thousand years (or thereabouts) have unfortunately been more influenced by hierarchical power structures, and an emphasis on monadism and variations on the theme of autocracy. Consider it as a pyramid structure, with God and the Emperor/King/Ruler at the top, with layers of centralised hierarchies that separate everyone according to strict social (and economic) structures.
A community built on natural systems would be more decentralised. It would look more like a web, with many inter-connected nodes. This is the principle behind distributed and decentralised systems that are being built in the world of cryptocurrencies. What we are currently building on the Steem Blockchain is a (somewhat) anarchic system that resembles how communities grow, evolve, and thrive in nature. It is by no means perfect, but even then it could be argued that imperfection is something inherent in nature anyway.
In the next post, we will continue to explore natural systems as a model for human creativity.
Other posts in this series:
Part 1 What Is ‘Natural Medicine’?
Part 2 What does ‘natural’ mean?
Part 3 Natural systems — systems in nature
Part 4 Natural systems — time and nature
Part 5: Natural systems — natural system of the human being
Beneficiaries for this post are:
- @lotuscoin 50%
- @naturalmedicine 40%
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