Victus Spiritus


The most elaborate game

09 Jan 2011

Society is an elaborate game we all partake in rewriting*. The more social and interdependent our lives become, the more essential gameplay becomes to each citizen. Tit for tat, greedy algorithms and generosity are situationally dependent strategies. Framing social and fiscal success in the form a game doesn't discount the value of hard work. I'll begin by reviewing the forces that lead to higher social connectivity.

Towering Cities of Glass and Steel

Urbanization and technology have vastly grown the number of links between individuals. What was once a society dominated by tribal and familial organizations, is tending towards a massive yet weakly connected group. In a tangible sense technology and cities are continually reorganizing our social systems. Technology achieves change through increased links between minds and reduced social and information friction. Cities lead to change through physical adjacency and ease of access. Both of these driving functions lead us to reevaluate legacy structures. What can we alter to make tomorrow's social structures better suited to shifting and constant human needs?

What is novel about social evolution is the resultant nature of layered relationships. We have families, friends, tribes, counties, states, nations and cross linked interest based communities. From sports, to music, to net games there are countless groups and subgroups that we are free to drift in and out of.

Isolated Groups with Minimal Variation

There are mutually exclusive groups and these organizations struggle to define themselves through isolation and strict doctrine. Yet they appear to be a contradiction, something a few thousand years of social experimentation should shake out. Groups are struggling to attain an identity yet are not individuals. Control groups strive to reduce the variation in member personalities to funnel their focus to the will of leadership. But as these groups grow, so to do the unofficial channels for self expression. No society can surgically remove personality from the person.

*= we all in this case is most people. There are solitary individuals, for example ascetic monks, and larger disconnected groups all the way up to isolationist nations.