The Society Comprehension Circle

Deutsch

During our research and conversations with our families, friends and fellow humans, we realized that we live in a society in which people are very specialized in topics of their choice. This often means that many lack the time and energy to bring their specialization back to the overall context in order to gain an overview. Society is a very complex and extensive topic. This is because everything that we know of plays a part in it. Thus, to simplify the understanding of society in its entirety, we developed the “Society Comprehension Circle”. This is a tool to easily track interactions in society to figure out basic settings and their consequences. The circle might help to point out reasons for societal conflicts and it might help to develop solutions.

Society Comprehension Circle

The “Society Comprehension Circle” is divided into seven subdivisions. These topics are all linked together. Nowadays we often talk about politics, economics, education, development and many other topics, as if they exist in isolation of one another. The purpose of the “Society Comprehension Circle” is to illustrate that all topics which influence the functioning of society are closely linked and interact with each other.

A designed society – The explanation of a scheme

Deutsch

A designed society follows the ambition to support each individual human being to find happiness and fulfillment. The human being is the basis and purpose of this society. A consciously shaped society understands planet Earth as a shared habitat. It communicates the understanding that – through society – the well-being of every human being is connected to the well-being of any other human being. It communicates the understanding that – through biology – the well-being of every human being is connected to the well-being of the planet’s nature.

A designed society

The human being. The human being is concerned with several thoughts about its existence and its life. Each human being develops an individual view on its environment and creates individual dreams and imaginative thoughts. Consequently, these lead to individual plans and projects (e.g. finding food due to hunger, writing a letter to communicate, constructing a house to live in, learning swimming to reach another coast). Once the human being wants to follow an idea, he or she becomes concerned about the requirements to fulfill his or her ambitions. The human being requires knowledge about its problem (e.g. general information, existing solutions), specific skills (e.g. how to drive a car) and access to resources (e.g. food, wood, metal) and tools (e.g. a knife, glasses, a computer). Society provides access to these requirements.

Communication is the key to bring human beings together. Communication for exchanging views and ideas (a current example being blogs). Communication for gaining and spreading knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia). Communication for finding other individuals with similar views, ambitions or problems (e.g. search engines and forums). Communication for calling for experts or trainers (e.g. tutorials).  Communication for demanding resources or tools (e.g. online shops). Communication for sharing life with others (e.g. social networks).

Humanity is multi-faceted. It is interested in eating, sleeping, joy, laughing, children, sports, traveling, music and an unimaginable number of other activities. Thus, humanity is interested in acquiring knowledge and skills, i.e. education. Human beings who engage passionately in a specific field, are interested in sharing knowledge and skills with people who are curious and motivated to learn about it.
Humanity is interested in spirituality for becoming inspired and finding answers which humanity cannot provide.
Humanity spreads love. Love for other human beings, life, nature and the fulfillment of their dreams. Love inspires us. Love may hurt. Love is a powerful influence in every society. Love is a basis.
Human beings who are concerned with several things by their own motivation do not call for reward. The realization of one’s own intentions does not need any payment (today known as “spare time”, e.g. open source community, Creative Commons, Greenpeace, Doctors without Borders, etc.).

Every human being applies the scientific method – consciously or subconsciously. We create our dreams, analyze our problems, gather information and try to realize our ideas. Based on the understanding that we need to care for the planet and the well-being of society, we develop sustainable tools and methods, which help to solve our problems. We develop technology to organize information, resources and tools for the benefit of everyone. Once we begin to establish those structures, the necessity to “own” things will begin to disappear. A mentality of access will replace the principle of ownership of property (current examples being public transport, car sharing, CouchSurfing). Thus, the consequences which resulted from “ownership” will also begin to disappear (read “Our society”). A society that achieves a high grade of resource abundance rarely requires a medium of exchange like “money”.

The picture we draw here is an ideal. Every musician, cook, artist, scientist -in fact everyone- deals with ideals. Ideals give an overview and direction. The ideal of society should be satisfactory assistance in finding happiness and fulfillment for each single human being.
We will never reach perfection. Perfection is a utopia, but we will try to get as close as possible to it.
The transition has already begun. Establishing discussion about it in our world institutions (e.g. the UN, governments, companies, universities, press) would accelerate the transition. That is why communication is a priority. You can only reflect on an idea if you know it.

Our Society – The explanation of a scheme

Deutsch

Our society is multifaceted. Our society consists of many small parts which combine to make the whole picture. Everyone is part of our society. We are society. Our society is a form of organization created by ourselves. Only if we understand it, can we enable ourselves to shape it purposefully. The following text tries to draw a full picture of our contemporary, global society.

Our society

Our society obtains its resources from the Earth. Nearly every type of resource is the “property” of a single human (e.g. farmer, oil sheik) or a group of humans (e.g. nations, companies). The exchange of these resources is realized through “trade” or violent appropriation (e.g. “war”). “Money” was installed as a universal means of exchange in order to simplify “trade”. In theory, “money” is convertible into any resource. Consequently, “money” is partial resource “property”. Theoretically, we all are “co-owners” of resources.

The human being. The human being in our contemporary society rapidly realizes that it cannot exist without “money”, because it would starve without food, water or the satisfaction of other basic needs. The majority of people in our society must take care of “earning money” to satisfy these basic needs. Mostly, that is realized through acquiring “jobs”. “Owning” groups of humans (e.g. companies) need to extract, manage and process resources in order to be able to use them. Eventually, they need further resources which they do not currently “own”. Consequently, they need to “trade” goods and services. Hence, “owners” need expertise and manpower to realize all of this. They create “jobs”. “Jobs” are performed by “employees” who, in exchange, obtain resources for their “work”, mostly in “monetary” form.
The human being is not exclusively concerned with thoughts about the satisfaction of basic needs. He or she philosophizes about existence and life itself. Hence, a human being creates individual dreams, theories and plans. Plans which the human being wants to realize out of his or her own motivation. These plans could stand in conflict with the “job”. The “job” has higher priority, since ensuring one’s existence is more important than shaping existence. Consequently, the human being needs to find a balance between her or his “job” and personal plans. Due to the higher priority the human being tends to concentrate on the “job”.
Maybe he or she wants to follow personal plans while coping with the “job”. In that case, “stress” may arise. In the long run, “stress” may lead to “health problems” (e.g. migraine, burn-out).
Or maybe the human being withdraws self-motivated interests. Withdrawing a lot of personal interests may result in “laziness” or “idleness”. “Idleness” leads to “health problems” (e.g. lack of fitness, lack of cognitive capabilities). If a human being withdraws self motivated interests, this human being and society lose potential in part. Consequently, the human being tends to veer away from her- or himself, when he or she loses sight of personal dreams and ambitions. Since contemporary education systems are designed to enable young people to find a “job”, this process may start as early as during childhood. Therefore, some human beings notice one day in their life that they are not sure about how they would like to shape their existence in the future (e.g. depression, midlife crisis).

The human being is never completely alone. At any time, one is connected with all the other human beings. Regarding “income”, one’s fellow humans are either better or worse situated. Thus, some of one’s fellow humans have less possibilities to access society’s resources. That may lead to “jealousy”. “Jealousy” may result in conflicts like “crime” (e.g. theft, deception), “violence” (e.g. robbery, murder) and “hate” in the long run (e.g. racism, terrorism). All these consequences are potential reasons for “war” (e.g. World War II, Afghanistan War). Conflicts like these lead to “fear”. This “fear” lets us communicate carefully with our fellow men, because we hardly know how others may abuse supplied information. We prefer to reject other people than to open ourselves up to them.

Other types of “fear” are consequences of “profit orientation” or “profit maximization”. “Profit orientation” describes the ambition to have sufficient access to resources. An increasing access to “money” leads to increasing material scope. Additionally, this means assuring this scope in the future. Even for this reason alone, all nations, companies and individuals must find compromises between “profit” and product quality (e.g. material quality, functions, product lifespan), customer care (e.g. service, manuals), environment (e.g. packaging, disposal) and employees (e.g. amount of staff, safety at work). Furthermore, these compromises lead to a potential “lack of safety” which may result in “accidents” (e.g. Tschernobyl, Deep Water Horizon). “Accidents” and resulting “pollution” cause further “health problems” that also create types of “fear”. These types of “fear” make the members of society control one another (e.g. audit, youth welfare office). Therefore, control dominates trust in our contemporary society.

All these “fears” influence every individual in his or her actions. They are the basis for a majority of our “laws” which shall create a frame to curtail negative consequences (e.g. traffic rules, criminal law). Many “laws” complicate life and consequently paralyze processes in our society (e.g. bureaucracy, airport check-in).

Through “laws”, politics try to prevent monopolies, since “profit orientation” may induce monopolists to constitute excessive “prices” for their goods or services. Consequently, multiple companies stand in “competition” to each other. This construct causes active “publicity” and enforces “corruption” and “lobbying” – within companies, nations and between individuals.
Furthermore, “competition” causes an incentive to hold back ideas (e.g. non-publication, patents). This reduced exchange of knowledge among society delays the development of technology (e.g. for the usage of renewable energy). And although the human being develops technology in order to realize ambitions more comfortably and more efficiently, the system-based pressure to create a “job” for every single human being counteracts the application of these technologies.

Conclusion: Many problems in our contemporary society result from the principle of “ownership” and the resulting values in society. The principle of “ownership” has developed throughout history. It is inevitable when a human being has a lack of understanding about how to create resource abundance. In resource scarcity situations, human beings try to hold their resources.
The consequences of the principle of “ownership” shown here always existed. They will aggravate as long as the “ownership” of “property” continuously concentrates on a decreasing group of people and the gap between rich and poor grows.
However, “ownership” is only a construct for the organization of human society. On other levels of society, humanity organizes itself in other ways. For example, in families or in circles of friends. There, we try to make resources available for everyone – through intensive communication (“Who needs what, when?”) and efficient organization (“How can we manage that?”). Applied to the global society, “ownership”, “money” and “fear” may play a minor role in our life in the future.
How in detail? Let’s begin to understand. It may be easier to design society than some of us believe. (→ “A designed society”)

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To fully comprehend the solutions that we write about in our articles, it may be important for some of you to further investigate the complexity of the problem. That is why we created a link list of films, documents and web sites that provide an overview of the major problems the global society is facing today (→ Problem awareness links).