The Tangled Web: Exploring the Complexity of Societal Dysfunction and the Forces Behind It

Virginia Beach, Virginia – Humanity is facing a growing societal disorder and dysfunction, stemming from a complex web of interdependent social, economic, political, and environmental processes. These processes, governed by the laws of science and forces of nature, contribute to the challenges faced by societies in their efforts to maintain stability. Limited human cognitive capabilities and flawed values hinder the creation of progressive and efficient functional systems necessary for socio-economic stability. The continuous demand for wealth, energy, raw materials, and labor resources further exacerbates these challenges.

As societies evolve, their functional systems become more intricate, bureaucratic, and increasingly inefficient. This complexity leads to a gradual decline in societies’ ability to cope with rapid progress and escalating levels of anxiety, fear, resentment, and hostility. Cultural anthropologist Alfred Kroeber highlights the inherent tendency of cultures to progress and fluctuate in vigor. However, for cultures to achieve new heights, old patterns must break down and reform.

Throughout history, cultural collapse has been attributed not only to inadequate leadership, corrupt bureaucracies, and human errors but also to natural and scientific forces. The mathematics and science of complex system randomness can help us understand the dynamics of civilization maturation. By identifying potential rare random cataclysmic events, known as “outliers,” such as earthquakes, we can better comprehend the unpredictability and fragility of our societies. Outliers, whether in the form of economic recessions or ecological system collapses, also contribute to societal instability.

Taking the example of America’s colonial slave society, one can draw parallels to continuous societal disorder caused by political and governing hostilities among states. Regional tensions between states espousing Jeffersonian democracy and those seeking to preserve white primacy and non-white subjugation created a divisive and conflict-ridden society. This ongoing societal disorder has given rise to significant events such as the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, civil and voting rights acts, and the recent MAGA movement.

The role of religion in politics has been a source of contention in contemporary American society. According to David French, a commentator at The New York Times, the current political Christianity manifests as a “religiously flavored authoritarianism” that perceives threats primarily outside the church. This sense of siege has fueled the remarkable demonization of the LGBT community. Former President Donald Trump, too, fostered hate rather than love for re-election, relying on a combination of negation partisanship and civic ignorance.

Unprofessional journalism, politically biased news outlets, false histories, and social media deception have become additional tools for fostering division, perpetuating misinformation, and undermining truth, rational thought, and governing integrity. This comprehensive misinforming process has contributed to the state of society where misinformation is eagerly sought after and believed.

The ramifications of this misinformed society are evident when contrasting public perception with economic indicators. Nobel economist Paul Krugman points out the unique phenomenon in the United States where people believe negative information about the economy that simply isn’t true. Unemployment is at a 50-year low, inflation is held within the Federal Reserve’s 2% objective, and violent crime rates have subsided. Yet, public perception remains grim.

Meanwhile, Americans have also grown disillusioned with their support for the war in Ukraine. Only 4% of the defense budget goes towards sustaining this support, while the majority of military materials are purchased from American suppliers. A professor at Boston College, Heather Cox Richardson, raises the alarming notion that democracies are more likely to die through the ballot box than at gunpoint. The loss of Ukraine’s democracy to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian expansionism looms over the 2024 election.

In conclusion, the overall societal disorder and dysfunction faced by humanity are a result of numerous interconnected factors. From limited cognitive capabilities and flawed values to the inherent complexity and instability of functional systems, the challenges are vast. However, the recognition of these issues allows us to address them proactively and foster a more harmonious and stable society.