Archive for the ‘sociology’ Category

The Twelve Houses of the Zodiac

November 7, 2019

How does one circumscribe the totality of human experience, both for the individual as well as for culture? One of the oldest ways is the twelvefold division of the Houses of the Zodiac, which may have its origins in Babylon. Other similar systems were used in India, China, Europe, etc. In my diagram above I’m using Latin numerals along with the Latin names of the houses.

For Western Astrology, four groups of three houses are divided by the four classical elements and then into triplicities (from Wikipedia):

  • Fire : Identity (I, V, IX)
  • Earth : Material (II, VI, X)
  • Air : Social and intellectual (III, VII, XI)
  • Water : Soul and Emotional (IV, VIII, XII)

And somewhat similarly for India, the divisions of Vedic Astrology are broken into four Bhavas or “needs” (from Wikipedia):

  • Dharma : (Duty) The need to find our path and purpose
  • Artha : (Resources) The need to acquire the necessary resources and abilities to provide for ourselves to fulfill our path and purpose
  • Kama : (Pleasure) The need for pleasure and enjoyment
  • Moksha : (Liberation) The need to find liberation and enlightenment from the world

There are more recent and scientific divisions of human universals, such as those by George Murdock, Robin Fox, and Donald Brown, as mentioned by Jungian analyst Anthony Stevens in his book “Archetype Revisited”. These are also grouped into four categories (from Wikipedia):

  • Language and cognition
  • Technology
  • Society
  • Beliefs

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_(astrology)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_astrology

https://www.dimension1111.com/astrology-the-houses.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_universal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Stevens_(Jungian_analyst)

Anthony Stevens / Ariadne’s Clue: a guide to the symbols of mankind

Note that John Crowley’s “AEypgt Quartet” uses the Latin names of the Houses as “books”, three to a volume.

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2013/12/20/aegypt/

[*11.156]

<>

 

 

Grid-Group Cultural Theory, V2

August 19, 2019

The Grid-Group Cultural Theory (also known as the Cultural Theory of Risk) originated from the studies of anthropologist Mary Douglas and political scientist Aaron Wildavsky. Grid and Group are two dimensions of sociality, each with a low and high value: Grid measures the differentiation between people (so low grid means people are similar), and Group measures the cohesion or social bonds between people (so low group means people do not have strong bonds).

From Wikipedia:

A “high group” way of life exhibits a high degree of collective control, whereas a “low group” one exhibits a much lower one and a resulting emphasis on individual self-sufficiency. A “high grid” way of life is characterized by conspicuous and durable forms of stratification in roles and authority, whereas a “low grid” one reflects a more egalitarian ordering.

And so:

  • Individualist: Low group and low grid, Nature is robust
  • Fatalist: Low group and high grid, Nature is capricious
  • Hierarchist: High group and high grid, Nature is tolerant
  • Egalitarian: High group and low grid, Nature is fragile
High
Grid
Low
Grid
High
Group
Hierarchist
(Positional)
Egalitarian
(Enclaves)
Low
Group
Fatalist
(Isolates)
Individualist
(Markets)

Further Reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Theory_of_risk

http://changingminds.org/explanations/culture/grid-group_culture.htm

https://www.dustinstoltz.com/blog/2014/06/04/diagram-of-theory-douglas-and-wildavskys-gridgroup-typology-of-worldviews

[*4.86, *8.112, *11.4, *11.5]

<>

 

Combogenesis and Evolution

June 23, 2019

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

— Charles Darwin, from The Origin of Species

Another important part of Tyler Volk’s theory of combogenesis that I didn’t mention previously is the role that evolution plays in the dynamical realms of biology and culture. He even illustrates evolution as a three-part braid where the strands are the processes of propagation, variation, and (natural) selection. He argues that these processes are fundamental to an abstract notion of meta-evolution that can be seen working to cause change in both of these different domains.

I don’t think that there is anything controversial in listing these three processes as being essential for biological evolution. Other diagrams and schemas available on-line also mention overproduction or fecundity, or having more off-spring than is strictly needed to continue the population, and heredity or heritability, or the ability to pass on special traits from parents to children.

Overproduction not only allows for greater survival chances for the organism but also gives genetic variation a better chance at producing something beneficial or interesting. This depends on what your chance of variation is, of course, but it seems that it is just a facet of propagation. Likewise, heredity seems like it is also included in propagation, as the continuance of the same or similar attributes to one’s descendants.

I previously proposed that four processes were essential to the workings of evolution: generation, variation, selection, and speciation. Generation is basically another word for propagation, although propagation might more clearly suggest having same or similar dependents, whereas generation just means having descendants. Overproduction can also be combined into either of these aspects if so desired. But I’ll say that (at least in my mind) generation and propagation are roughly the same.

But what about the process of speciation? Is it as fundamental to biological evolution as we see it working on our planet today as the other three processes? Speciation only means the formation of new and distinct species by evolutionary process. So generation, variation, and selection don’t really allow for the “endless forms most beautiful” in the famous quote of Darwin, or do they? Speciation also implies the heritability attribute of evolution, so maybe both generation and speciation subsume the aspect of propagation in most biologists or at least Volk’s mind.

But an important question is, is specification implied by the other three, like three mathematical axioms implying a theorem, or is it independent of them? If you don’t have speciation, don’t you essentially just have one type of organism? Or would you just have a continuum of variation within the population, without any barriers for reproduction between them? I’ll admit that these questions are too complicated for me to answer at this time.

Getting back to Volk and combogenesis, he and others have argued that cultural change is an evolutionary process as well. Another important question then is, if speciation is fundamental to evolution, then is the differentiation of cultures fundamental to the evolutionary process of culture? If so, culture may never be ‘one thing’, and we will always have different cultures competing for dominance.

The competition of different cultures isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as perhaps they can also be pluralistically cooperative. And perhaps having multiple cultures are best in case the society heads down an evolutionary dead-end, longevity-wise. But still, this might be the reason that we will always have multiple cultures that just can’t agree, can’t get along, and can’t really live together.

You might hope that by language and reason, different societies and ideologies can bridge gaps in understanding. You might hope that good-will and morality might win out, and destructive vitriol will be held in check. You might indeed hope. But research has shown that people are very resistant to changing their minds once they think they are right. I think it has been shown that new types of media (I’m looking at you, internet) has exacerbated this problem to the n-th degree.

There is the fourfold Means and Ends (of course there is) that includes cooperation and competition, as well as conflict and coalition. It is based on looking at the compatibility and incompatibility of different means and ends. Even if you can’t have full cooperation, perhaps you can have (mere) competition or coalition within cultures, instead of out-and-out conflict. Perhaps the key is to find those common goals, and even those common values that might allow our factious society to move forward. But many others have said these types of things.

Interestingly, there are also four types of geographic biological speciation, so looking at these might give us clues as to what might be occurring for our speciation in cultural evolution (there’s a nice diagram at the Wikipedia entry). Do the same processes that produce species in the biological world also produce societal divergences in the cultural world? Are these processes the origins of tribes, nations, and even wars? Are there analogues of allopatric, peripatetic, parapatric, and sympatric speciation when considering different cultures and their conflict and cooperation?

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation

https://sciencing.com/four-factors-natural-selection-8140305.html

https://metapatterns.wikidot.com/nyusjm1-1:flott-evolution

https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_43

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816541/

https://www.nature.com/scitable/definition/speciation-183

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2012/06/08/the-theory-of-evolution/

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2015/12/30/means-and-ends/

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

(more…)

Four Sociological Traditions

June 18, 2019

A blurb found on the web for this 1994 book:

The updated version of Collins’s critically-acclaimed Three Sociological Traditions, this text presents a concise intellectual history of sociology organized around the development of four classic schools of thought: the conflict tradition of Marx and Weber, the ritual solidarity of Durkheim,the microinteractionist tradition of Mead, Blumer, and Garfinkel, and–new to this edition–the utilitarian/rational choice tradition. Collins, one of the liveliest and most exciting writers in sociology today, traces the intellectual highlights of these four main schools from classical theories to current developments, introducing the roots of sociology and indicating the areas where progress has been made in our understanding, the areas where controversy still exists, and the direction in which sociology is headed.

Further Reading:

Randall Collins / Four Sociological Traditions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Collins

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2015/11/16/the-four-requisites-of-randall-collins/

[*4.6, *11.110]

(more…)

Combogenesis: a constructive, emergent cosmos

May 22, 2019

I just finished reading Tyler Volk’s “Quarks to Culture: how we came to be”. In this book Volk outlines an interesting model for what he calls combo-genesis, a “great chain of being” leading from basic physical law up through the highest organizational structures that we know of, human societies. He traces a path through human knowledge: physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, sociology, etc., and I am reminded of E. O. Wilson’s “Consilience: the unity of knowledge” that argued for some of the same things.

But Volk’s work has some good new ideas. He details twelve hierarchical levels, where each level is constructed on a “lower” previous level, and the new “higher” level has new things and different abilities than its predecessor. These levels range from the level of fundamental quanta (the quarks of the title), to geo-political states (the culture of the title).

  • QUA: fundamental quanta
  • PRO: nucleons, which are protons and neutrons
  • NCL: atomic nuclei
  • ATM: atoms
  • MOL: molecules
  • PCL: prokaryotic cells
  • ECL: eukaryotic cells
  • ANI: multicellular organisms, including animals
  • ASG: animal social groups
  • HUM: human tribal meta-groups
  • AGR: agro-villages
  • STA: geo-political states

These levels are within three dynamical realms, the first realm being of physical laws and then those realms of biological and cultural evolution. Each of these realms has a base level that has a capability for great constructive and emergent potential via an “Alpha-kit”. An alpha-kit has two facets, an element set and a cornucopia set, that operate like an alphabet and the myriad combinations that that alphabet can produce.

Dynamical realms:

  • Realm of physical laws: QUA -> MOL
  • Realm of biological evolution PCL -> ASG
  • Realm of cultural evolution HUM -> STA

Base levels and their Alpha-kits:

  • QUA, means for chemistry and molecules (atomic)
  • PCL, mechanisms for biology and its evolution (genetic)
  • HUM, faculty for culture and its evolution (linguistic)

As Volk’s model has each higher level based on or constructed from the previous lower one, I make the following suggestion utilizing my four-fold Structure-Function. The structures of each lower level serve as the parts of the next higher level, and the functions of each lower level serve as the actions of the next higher level. In this way a chain of actions and parts, structures and functions are built giving different entities and capabilities to different operational domains.

In the diagram shown, the sets of structures (S) and functions (F) of level i are used for the sets of parts (P) and actions (A) of level i+1, so S(i)=>P(i+1) and F(i)=>A(i+1). Not all structural information or functional abilities are necessarily accessible in the higher level of parts and actions, similar to the information and method hiding in object-oriented programming, and so reducing overall complexity. And as I have argued before, parts are combined to create the structures and actions are combined to create the functions of each level, so P(i+1)=>S(i+1) and A(i+1)=>F(i+1). In this way we have a bottom-up combo-genesis leading from quarks to culture.

Are we now entering another dynamical realm, perhaps based on some technological or computational alpha-kit? But, unfortunately we have to ask, will it take us forwards or backwards?

Further Reading:

Tyler Volk / Quarks to Culture: how we came to be

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyler_Volk

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/how-quarks-turned-into-cultures/

http://www.integralworld.net/smith56.html

http://www.integralworld.net/visser114.html

https://inquisitivebiologist.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/book-review-quarks-to-culture-how-we-came-to-be/

Tyler Volk and Robert Wright discuss:

mol-2017-09-28-wright-volk

Edward O. Wilson / Consilience: the unity of knowledge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience_(book)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience

[*11.98, *11.99]

<>

 

Patrick Geddes and the Notation of Life

May 8, 2019

Over the last few decades, there has been renewed interest in the work of biologist, sociologist, and city planner Patrick Geddes [1]. This is due to his efforts for holistic considerations for the entirety of the modes of human life and the facilities appropriate for their function. That is, he asked what makes a city or a town ideal for life, and how can we plan to bring this ideality into being? To this day, cities fail in many important ways.

Geddes embraced the new (at the time) Victorian notion of evolution in his work and thought of how cities could and should evolve to meet their shortcomings as well as provide environments for future developments. For example, common institutions such as schools, churches, and governments (polity) need to cooperate with family dwellings to provide for synergy and functional enrichment.

Geddes often used grids of words to explore relations between concepts, such as place, work, and folk. Placing these words along the diagonal of a square allowed one to consider the paired concepts of place-work, work-place, place-folk, etc. For example, how does the place-work compare with the work-place? His “notation of life” was a complicated schematic for exploring relations between a city’s facilities and the activities that they should promote.

  • Town / Acts : place, work, folk
  • School / Facts : sense, experience, feeling (alt. lore, learn, love)
  • City / Deeds : ethno-polity, synergy, achievement (alt. polity, culture art)
  • Cloister / Dreams (Thoughts) : emotion, ideation, imagery (alt. ideals, ideas, imagery)

Two locales are objective, two are subjective, two are passive, and two are active:

  • In-World (Subjective) : School and Cloister
  • Out-World (Objective) : Town and City
  • Passive : Town and School
  • Active : City and Cloister

And so:

  • Passive & Subjective : School
  • Active & Subjective : Cloister
  • Passive & Objective : Town
  • Active & Objective : City

Any important thinker is inspired and influenced by those that were previous or are contemporary to them and in turn is inspiration to those that follow. James H. Cousins was an important syncronic influence on Geddes, and please see [2] and [3] for information about him. The integral theory of Ken Wilber [4] is also compared to Geddes in [5]. I understand architect Lewis Mumford was a disciple of Geddes and I hope to find out more at a future time, perhaps by reading my copy of [6].

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Geddes

[2] http://hodgers.com/mike/patrickgeddes/feature.html

[3] https://equivalentexchange.blog/2017/07/13/a-study-in-synthesis/

[4] https://equivalentexchange.blog/2010/06/10/ken-wilbers-aqal/

[5] Theodore S. Eisenman, Tom Murray / An Integral Lens on Patrick Geddes, Landscape and Urban Planning,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.05.011

[6] Donald T. Miller / Lewis Mumford, a Life

Further Reading:

http://architectureandurbanism.blogspot.com/2010/10/volker-m-welter-biopolis-patrick-geddes.html

https://www.dundee.ac.uk/geddesinstitute/projects/citythink/

http ://medium.com/@designforsustainability/design-and-planning-for-people-in-place-sir-patrick-geddes-1854-1932-and-the-emergence-of-2efa4886317e

View at Medium.com

https://quadralectics.wordpress.com/4-representation/4-1-form/4-1-4-cities-in-the-mind/4-1-4-1-the-ideal-city/

Patrick Geddes / Cities in Evolution

https://archive.org/details/citiesinevolutio00gedduoft/page/n10

[*9.12, *9.14, *11.92]

<>

 

Spiral Dynamics

February 21, 2019

Spiral Dynamics is an intriguing model for the different levels of development and interaction that individuals (and even cultures) may exhibit towards each other and the world. It has interesting parallels to Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development and even Leary’s Eight Brain Circuit Model of Consciousness.

Below is a list of these levels by (Catchy) Name, Social Structure, Motives, and Means of Coping:

  • SurvivalSense, Loose Bands, Survival, Instinctive
  • KinSpirits, Tribes, Magic/Safety, Animistic
  • PowerGods, Empires, Power/Dominance, Egocentric
  • TruthForce, Pyramidal, Order/Morality, Absolutistic
  • StriveDrive, Delegative, Autonomy/Achievement, Multiplistic
  • HumanBond, Egalitarian, Approval/Equality/Community, Relativistic
  • FlexFlow, Interactive, Adaptability/Integration, Systemic
  • GlobalView, Global, Compassion/Harmony, Holistic

And maybe another, further step if we don’t destroy ourselves and the Earth by just being stupid.

Further Reading:

Don Edward Beck, Christopher C. Cowan / Spiral Dynamics: mastering values, leadership and change

Don Edward Beck, et. al. / Spiral Dynamics in Action: humanity’s master code

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Edward_Beck

http://www.cruxcatalyst.com/2013/09/26/spiral-dynamics-a-way-of-understanding-human-nature/

https://www.biznews.com/good-hope-project/2017/09/04/understanding-spiral-dynamics

https://scottjeffrey.com/spiral-dynamics/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_theory_(Ken_Wilber)

http://www.awaken.com/2014/04/ken-wilber-summary-of-spiral-dynamics-model/

[*11.41, *11.45]

<>

Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development

February 12, 2019

Erik Erikson developed an eight stage developmental model of the psyche for the full life of the human individual. Each stage has a key conflict (with both positive and negative sides), its resolution into a “virtue,” and the typical age range for that conflict.

  • Trust vs. Mistrust, “Hope”, Infancy (0-1 years)
  • Autonomy vs. Shame, “Will”, Early Childhood (1-3 years)
  • Initiative vs. Guilt, “Purpose”, Play Age (3-5 years)
  • Industry vs. Inferiority, “Competency” (or “Ability” or “Skill”), Schooling (5-12 years)
  • Ego identity vs. Role confusion, “Fidelity”, Adolescence (12-18 years)
  • Intimacy vs. Isolation, “Love”, Young Adult (18-40 years)
  • Generativity vs. Stagnation, “Care”, Adulthood (40-65 years)
  • Ego integrity vs. Despair, “Wisdom”, Old Age (65-? years)

I would think that these ages would depend significantly on cultural norms.

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson%27s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/teachereducationx92x1/chapter/eriksons-stages-of-psychosocial-development/

https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

http://www.crowe-associates.co.uk/psychotherapy/erikson-life-stages/

[*11.44]

<>

The World Values Survey

January 26, 2018

For a number of years, very interesting research in cultural studies has been produced by the World Values Survey. This survey measures the slippery notion of value as belonging to four types: Survival, Traditional, Self-Expression, and Secular-Rational.

Individual and social values are quantified, resulting in two pairs of value types that are independent, and for each pair, the two types are dependent and inversely proportional:

  • Survival values ⇔ Self-expression values
  • Secular-rational values ⇔ Traditional values

In other words, if survival values are high (say one), self-expression values are low (say zero), and if survival values are low, self-expression values are high. Similarly, secular-rational values are higher if traditional values are lower, etc. So a pair of numbers each between zero and one indicates how an individual or society considers the importance of these values.

These social values are measured and compared in countries around the world, resulting in the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map. This map is a scatter plot that clusters similar countries by value pairs, rather than geography. However, countries close in geography are also often fairly close as “value” neighbors on this cultural chart.

One might try to claim that self-expression values and secular-rational values are more “advanced” than survival and traditional values. As a culture obtains more material wealth they are less dependent on using resources for survival, and so can foster more self-expression. Then perhaps as self-expression grows and so independent thought, less dependence on or even tolerance of traditional values encourages increased secular-rational values. But that would be too easy!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Values_Survey

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inglehart–Welzel_cultural_map_of_the_world

World Values Survey on Twitter:

[*9.170]

<>

The Fourfold Body

July 3, 2016

sq_tomb_templeAs an addendum to my previous post, I remembered the nice article below.

Anthony Synnott / Tomb, Temple, Machine and Self: The Social Construction of the Body, The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 79-110

Abstract:

The body is socially constructed; and in this paper we explore the various and ever-changing constructions of the body, and thus of the embodied self, from the Greeks to the present. The one word, body, may therefore signify very different realities and perceptions of reality; and we consider briefly how and why these meanings changed.

Plato believed the body was a ‘tomb’, Paul said it was the ‘temple’ of the Holy Spirit, the Stoic philosopher Epictetus taught that it was a ‘corpse’. Christians believed, and believe, that the body is not only physical, but also spiritual and mystical,  and many believed it was an allegory of church, state and family. Some said it was cosmic: one with the planets and the constellations. Descartes wrote that the body is a ‘machine’, and this definition has underpinned bio-medicine to this day; but Sartre said that the body is the self.

In sum, the body has no intrinsic meaning. Populations create their own meanings, and thus their own bodies; but how they create, and then change them, and why, reflects the social body.

Also a book!

Anthony Synnott / The Body Social: symbolism, self, and society (1993)

[*6.142, *9.139]

<>


  Bartosz Milewski's Programming Cafe

Category Theory, Haskell, Concurrency, C++

The Inquisitive Biologist

Reviewing fascinating science books since 2017

Paleofuture

Every Fourth Thing

Simplicity

Derek Wise's blog: Mathematics, Physics, Computing and other fun stuff.

COMPLEMENTARY 4x

integrating 4 binary opposites in life, learning, art, science and architecture

INTEGRATED 4x

integrating 4 binary opposites in life, learning, art, science and architecture

Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works

Chasing the Paper Rabbit

Antinomia Imediata

experiments in a reaction from the left

Digital Minds

A blog about computers, evolution, complexity, cells, intelligence, brains, and minds.

Social Systems Theory

A blog inspired by Niklas Luhmann and other social theorists

philosophy maps

mind maps, infographics, and expositions

hyde and rugg

neat ideas from unusual places

John Kutensky

The way you think it is may not be the way it is at all.

Visions of Four Notions

Introduction to a Quadralectic Epistomology

Explaining Science

Astronomy, space and space travel for the non scientist

Log24

Every Fourth Thing

Ideas Without End

A Serious Look at Trivial Things

Quadralectic Architecture

A Survey of Tetradic Testimonials in Architecture

Minds and Brains

Musings from a Naturalist

Quadriformisratio

Four-fold thinking4you

Multisense Realism

Craig Weinberg's Cosmology of Sense

RABUJOI - An Anime Blog

Purveyors of Fine Anime Reviews and Ratings Since 2010

Intra-Being

Between Subject and Object

The Woodring Monitor

Every Fourth Thing

FORM & FORMALISM

Every Fourth Thing

Log24

Every Fourth Thing

The n-Category Café

Every Fourth Thing

ECOLOGY WITHOUT NATURE

Every Fourth Thing

PHILOSOPHY IN A TIME OF ERROR

Sometimes those Sticking their Heads in the Sand are Looking for Something Deep

Networkologies

Online Home of Christopher Vitale, Associate Professor of Media Studies, The Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.

DEONTOLOGISTICS

Researching the Demands of Thought

Aberrant Monism

Spinozism and Life in the Chaosmos

Object-Oriented Philosophy

"The centaur of classical metaphysics shall be mated with the cheetah of actor-network theory."

Objects & Things

objects & things, design, art & technology

%d bloggers like this: