The complexity-sustainability trade-off and Dunbar’s Number

“It is suggested that the number of neocortical neurons limits the organism’s information-processing capacity and that this then limits the number of relationships that an individual can monitor simultaneously. When a group’s size exceeds this limit, it becomes unstable and begins to fragment. This then places an upper limit on the size of groups which any given species can maintain as cohesive social units through time.”

The Irreducibility of Meaning

In social systems theory, meaning is irreducible; it cannot be reduced to meaningful/meaningless or meaning/no-meaning because these distinctions must also be treated as meaningful. In other words, if I say “Your statement is meaningless” or “This story has no meaning,” my own statement is treated as meaningful. Otherwise, communication cannot happen.

More on science and religion, or Stephen Jay Gould’s error

“Our failure to discern a universal good does not record any lack of insight or ingenuity, but merely demonstrates that nature contains no moral messages framed in human terms. Morality is a subject for philosophers, theologians, students of the humanities, indeed for all thinking people. The answers will not be read passively from nature; they do not, and cannot, arise from the data of science. The factual state of the world does not teach us how we, with our powers for good and evil, should alter or preserve it in the most ethical manner.” (Stephen Jay Gould, 1994)

Systems, not People, Make Society Happen, free book by Michael King

“Michael King takes recent academic debates concerning the nature of knowledge, the observation of reality and the relationship between social and conscious systems and, by reproducing them in the form of a highly readable narrative makes them applicable to contemporary social issues. Anyone who has an interest in the future of humanity and is concerned by claims that the future can be controlled by decisions made in the present will find this book fascinating and disturbing reading.”

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