Gian Piero de Bellis
On the Social Sciences as Social Scam and the Social Scientists as Social Scoundrels
Principles and Tools for Post-Statism
|The demands of the case|
|The general framework|
The passage from statism to post-statism requires positing strong conceptual and empirical foundations upon which individuals could rely in order to understand reality and its multi-faceted aspects and various relations.
The materials for building those foundations are not necessarily new because many principles and tools developed in the past can and should be recovered and put to use.
What is necessary is to discard the glittering junk still widely employed by the social scientists and to retrieve those stones that have been dismissed or neglected and make them the pillars of new attitudes and actions in order to get free from contemporary moral and mental asphyxia.
Here we present briefly some of the more relevant theoretical principles and practical tools.
Consistency is a sine qua non of any rational argument and conduct.
In fact, something qualifies as a sound argument because it is made of a series of consistent statements, i.e. consistent with each other (valid) and, first of all, consistent with the empirical evidence on which they are based (true).
The same applies to conduct that is made of a series of consistent acts, where the means do not contradict the ends and what is said/done today is not at capricious variance with what is said/done tomorrow.
The requirement of consistency derives from the fact that reality is made of continua whose entities needs to present a certain harmony if something good and useful is aspired to.
Examples of continua requiring consistency are:
- the operational continuum : statements - deeds
- the instrumental continuum : means - ends
- the temporal continuum : short-term - long-term.
Consistency can be seen as a universal requirement that applies everywhere and to everybody, irrespective of culture and location. Whenever and wherever we see it neglected or negated we should be aware that truth is obliterated and reality manipulated.
And yet, displays of inconsistency are the bread and butter of daily life. For instance, inconsistency is at work when anti-global intellectuals tour the globe spreading their message, railing against multinational companies on which they rely for publishing their books, and, to compound inconsistency with impudence, making into a registered logo the cover of a book against logos (see Naomi Klein's "No Logo").
The same remark applies to the so-called free-market intellectuals who want the state to intervene extensively in the economy in order to protect or even ameliorate the functioning of the free market (and are totally unaware of the idiotic inconsistency of their request).
Another example of inconsistency is the tragically laughable presumption of those who reserve to the state the licence to kill, expecting an end to any killing.
|"The individual in any given nation has in this war a terrible opportunity to convince himself of what would occasionally strike him in peacetime, that the state has forbidden to the individual the practice of wrong-doing, not because it desires to abolish the practice of wrong-doing, but because it wants to monopolize it like salt and tobacco. The warring state permits itself every misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual. It practices not only the accepted stratagems of war, but also deliberate lying and deception against the enemy; and this, to a degree which appears to surpass the usage of former wars. The state exacts the utmost degree of obedience and sacrifice from its citizens, but at the same time treats them as children by maintaining an excess of secrecy, and a censorship upon news and expression of opinion which renders the spirits of those thus intellectually oppressed defenceless against every unfavourable turn of events and every sinister rumour. It absolves itself from the guarantees and treaties by which it was bound to other states, and makes unabashed confession of its rapacity and lust for power, which the private individual is then called upon to sanction in the name of patriotism."
(Sigmund Freud, Thoughts for the times on war and death, 1915)
This is a supine acceptance of inconsistency doubled by total gullibility and by a large dose of idiocy on the part of those who believe in the state as the promoter and keeper of peace.
In general there is a certain amount of naivety or lack of perceptiveness/reflectiveness in any acceptance of inconsistency.
And, on the part of the professional manufacturers of inconsistencies, there is usually a high level of moral dishonesty or mental deficiency.
It is then appropriate to say that without consistency the human being is not only lacking rationality but also morality; and when the manifestations of inconsistency are chronic and vicious, no so-called human being can any longer be characterized as having the human qualities that are indispensable for social intercourse.
The principle of consistency is supplemented and integrated by that of equilibration.
In some cases equilibration can be seen as the quantitative aspect of consistency (e.g. in input-output processes).
The term equilibration is used here to mean dynamic balance.
|"Equilibration involves the idea of transformation within a system and the idea of self-regulation."
(Jean Piaget, Structuralism, 1968)
Other words that convey this meaning are "homeostasis" (Walter B. Cannon), "homeorhesis" (Conrad Waddington), "equipoise" (Siegfried Giedion).
|"The homeostasis model, which is, of such importance in physiology, is an example of a cybernetic mechanism, and such mechanisms exist through the whole empirical world of the biologist and the social scientist."
(Kenneth Boulding, General Systems Theory, 1956)
The simple word equilibrium is not appropriate because it applies, in physics, to the static state of an unchanging system. One of the best examples of equilibrium is a dead embalmed body, kept totally insulated from the surrounding environment and on which the external environment does not exert any changing effect.
By contrast, what characterizes living systems is their evolution, which is made possible by the dynamic intercourse between the various entities and the environment.
This free interplay takes place within the requirement of dynamic balance. In nature the necessity of balance becomes very evident and cogent, especially in situations of crisis, when the depletion of a certain key resource, without regeneration or substitution, causes serious imbalances and leads to all sorts of limitations in the development of an organism, right up to its extinction in some cases.
Human beings are part of nature and constitute very active elements in the multiple relations within the natural world.
For this reason they should:
- consciously accept the principle of equilibration as a guide in all types of intercourse between entities;
- willingly apply the principle of equilibration through the mechanisms of feed-back and feed-forward in order to master changes.
The modifications of the system in view of achieving equilibration are possible because the system is an open one.
Closed systems, more or less insulated from the outside and restricted in their development, are those favoured by reactionary and despotic rulers with the assistance of servile social scientists. Both of these groups rail against presumed disequilibria caused by external factors not under their control, and extol their asphyxiating political governance and intellectual guidance as the best protection from what they call disorder or anarchy.
In so doing they operate only for the protection of the status quo and so for a deadly equilibrium. They incubate future disasters under the pretence of protecting the people from current risks that, in many cases, are nothing else than the challenges of life evolving.
Open nexus-fluxus (^)
Essential requirements for the life and evolution of any system are free links (nexus) and free flows (fluxus), open in every possible direction as deemed necessary by the concerned entities.
It is an established notion of science (but, it seems, not yet or not universally, of the so-called social sciences) that change is possible only through ex-change and that, in order to operate, the process of organization requires the system be open otherwise it runs down until it reaches a static state equivalent to death.
|"In a closed system there is a tendency for organization to change into disorganization, or for the amount of information available about the system to become smaller as time goes on."
(Milton A. Rothman, The Laws of Physics, 1963)
What is valid in the physical-natural world applies also to human beings, who are part of and play an active part in that world.
In fact, human beings can exist only by interacting with their external environments (physical, biological, social).
As for society, this is a concise abstract term for designating the concrete interactions between human beings. In other words, as already pointed out by Frédéric Bastiat, society is exchange, and so, the more limited or less free the exchanges, the more insecure and less developed are the human beings that generate society through their intercourse.
Clearly, a free open nexus-fluxus jeopardises all those who have built their fortunes on control and closed doors. They are bound to yield to the newcomers, to those, among the current exploited and marginalized individuals, who are also the most energetic and vibrant, the new "animal spirits" facing the flaccidity and dumbness of the old rulers.
That is why the social scientists are terrified by open spaces and free movement of individuals and keep talking of "governance," an innocent term that hides their stubborn pretence to dominance.
Nevertheless, current technology favours the development and spreading of open nexus-fluxus. This makes possible the realization of another principle that is at the basis of the evolution towards more satisfactory forms of personal and social life: cognitive multiplication.
Cognitive multiplication (^)
The openness of the system facilitates the proliferation of the linking (nexus) and flowing (fluxus) of information amongst entities.
As a matter of fact, the value (usefulness) of a network is dependent on the number of links that make possible a certain number of flows. In other words, the power of a network is related to the level of connections that make possible a certain level of exchanges, in a spiral of increasing value and choice.
|"The value of a network, defined as its utility to a population, is roughly proportional to the number of users squared."
In more general terms, the multiplicity of free exchanges leads to the emergence of creative combinations of ideas and productive associations of individuals.
It is a process similar to the flow of data between the synapses, that is between the points which connect the brain cells: the more synapses, the more fertile the brain. To that we can add that the freer the flow of data, the more the connections which get formed in the brain and so the more powerful the brain becomes, in a dynamic progression of personal cognitive multiplication.
At group and inter-group level, the cognitive multiplication arising from exchanges produces creative energy that is the lifeblood of human progress. The main features of human progress are personal freedom and individual empowerment.
That is why rulers, in order to block change (progress) try to hinder exchanges or to confine them within a controllable territory.
And this is also why all the obstacles (even those presented as civilizing regulations) to the free circulation of ideas, people and artefacts, represent brakes on cognitive multiplication. They are crimes against the development of human beings and so, crimes against humanity.
These crimes are committed daily by state-sponsored intellectuals advocating a national identity (or any type of identity) instead of striving for the coming into being of fully open and fully developed personalities. In doing so they show how little they care for the advancement of knowledge and how much they are afraid of being displaced by new ideas and new individuals coming from outside their closed national circle.
Cognitive multiplication, resulting from the working of powerful networks (personal-social) of multiple exchanges, originates from the existence of variety. This fact leads us to the next principle: requisite variety.
Requisite variety (^)
The point of departure for many evolving realities is represented by an undifferentiated/unsophisticated condition. It is like a primeval soup out of which distinct elements emerge in due course and the more they develop the more they bring forth variety.
If this is true, it is then appropriate to say that a developed community is one composed of a remarkable variety of human beings, with a great variety of inclinations, desires, projects, in other words features of existence and forms of expression.
The process of evolution/development appears to lead generally from one (element, aspect, function, etc.) to many, in other words from identity and uniformity to individuation and differentiation. We could define this process as a dynamic towards variety springing from the freedom of transformation and combination of entities.
To deal with variety appropriately and effectively, while preserving it if and when is a positive reality, there is only one means, and that is the use of variety itself.
In other words, the mastery of variety requires mechanisms and procedures of operation that contain a variety of responses in harmony/relation with the variety of possible situations and combinations.
This is known as the Principle of Requisite Variety.
|"If, for instance, a press photographer would deal with twenty subjects that are (for exposure and distance) distinct, then his camera must obviously be capable of at least twenty distinct settings if all the negatives are to be brought to a uniform density and sharpness."
(W. Ross Ashby, An Introduction to Cybernetics, 1956)
|"The Law of Requisite Variety is the main tool in understanding the ways in which systems can be controlled. The Law is stated simply by W. Ross Ashby (1964) : 'only variety can destroy variety'. In other word, to control a system of given variety we must match it with a controlling system of requisite variety."
(George Chadwick, A Systems View of Planning, 1971)
From this principle it follows that a centralized mechanism of organization that relies only on a limited set of responses is appropriate, may be, for a small tribe of stone-age people or for some extraordinary cases, but is totally inappropriate in any other situation, and especially with reference to more or less advanced individuals and groups. If centralization is applied, it serves only to block development, even when it promotes initially growth, for decades (as in the case of the former Soviet Union) if not for centuries. Unfortunately, this is what we are still subjected to with our central governments, central banks, centralized administration of justice, ministry of national education and so on. And this is why we are presently stuck in societies that have no future, their future being merely the replication of their past.
Requisite variety is linked to another principle: the demands of the case.
The demands of the case (^)
One of the most difficult pieces of advice to put into practice when dealing with a problem is to get rid of all conventional/stereotyped ideas and to examine the case from a totally new perspective.
This could sometimes mean that the facts of the case require us to test an implausible, and hitherto abandoned, idea. With reference to a group dealing with a problem, it could even mean re-arranging the distribution of tasks and giving the leading role to a person that was occupying, up to then, an obscure position which now becomes central in the new operative plan.
In other words, problem-solving processes might require a total revision of previous decisions and conventional rules, making it possible for a discarded stone to become the keystone and for the king of diamonds to end up being less important and valuable than the two of spades.
These can all be answers that arise from the demands of the case; and the fact that we decide not to ignore those demands can represent the difference between solving problems or spreading problems.
|"I think it really is a matter of repersonalizing. We, persons, have relations with each other, but we should find them in and through the whole situation. We cannot have any sound relation with each other as long as we take them out of that setting which gives them their meaning and value. This divorcing of persons and the situation does a great deal of harm."
"From one point of view one might call the essence of scientific management the attempt to find the law of the situation With scientific management the managers are as much under orders as the workers, for both obey the law of the situation. Our job is not how to get people to obey orders, but how to devise methods by which we can best discover the order integral to a particular situation. When that is found, the employee can issue it to the employer, as well as employer to employee.."
"... authority [should be seen] as inherent in the situation, not as attached to an official position."
"... legitimate authority flows from co-ordination, not co-ordination from authority."
(Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration, 1941)
Clearly all this is anathema to mainstream social discourse and social practice, in which, the roles are fixed and hierarchically organized from the beginning, starting from those in power (at the top) who commission some research, the experts (in the middle) who are paid to carry out the research and those (at the bottom) who are the object of the research. The fact that an analysis of the situation might reveal that the bottom, if given the chance, could solve the problem better than the experts hired by the top is not even taken into consideration and cannot be taken into consideration, otherwise frozen hierarchies and frozen roles would disappear at once and the so-called experts would find the earth crumbling under their feet.
Another possibility, totally ignored by the social scientists, would consist in devising and implementing situations that produce fruitful competition (emulation) and cooperation (synergy) out of which problems get solved as soon as they present themselves (or even before they fully emerge) by the persons who face them, without waiting every time for the outside experts. The demands of the case would become then opportunities for activating a learning process, continuous and widespread.
Such ideas are clearly wishful thinking in the context of the current theory and practice of the social scientists. In fact, if somebody is deriving an advantage (power, prestige, income) out of the existence of a problem and, moreover, if his entire life (training, occupation) revolves around that problem, he is not likely to be interested/involved either in promoting situations that facilitate self-help solutions or in finding good permanent solutions. But this is exactly what the demands of the case ask for.
The principle of the demands of the case is linked to another basic one: challenge.
As previously pointed out, the social scientists are more inclined to narcotize people who are facing problems, promising top-down professional solutions, rather than let them take on the challenge and find the solution by themselves.
The failure to take on challenges, e.g. for fear of not being equal to them, or the impossibility of taking on challenges, owing to state barriers against some activities, are the sources of innumerable moral and material disasters in human history.
This paralysis of direct initiative fixes the individual into a frozen state of dependency on any external power, be it a vicious aggressor, a supposedly benevolent helper or any vagary of nature.
The human being, unimpeded by masters and sorcerers, is, generally, an enterprising individual, curious to learn and keen to act.
In the course of history he/she has taken on all sorts of challenges and even invented challenges in the form of games, adventures, expeditions, races, record breaking, and so on.
Taking on a challenge means competing with others or with oneself. From competition comes competence and it is in large measure through competition that human beings can become competent.
The challenge undertaken should be proportional to the skills mastered and the level of difficulties in the challenge should grow in relation to the mastery of skills. In this way the tension in dealing with a problem is matched by a creative release of tension, i.e. striving to reach an achievable goal or find a possible solution.
|"We have ascertained that civilizations come to birth in environments that are unusually difficult and not unusually easy, and this has led us on to inquire whether or not this is an instance of some social law which may be expressed in the formula: 'the greater the challenge, the greater the stimulus'."
(Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, 1946)
The crime of the social scientists consists in having decried challenges as disrupters of the social order (sometimes under the dirty words of "social Darwinism") and got rid of them, except in specific contexts where professional gamers vie with each other in front of paying spectators.
All the rest has been highly regulated, eliminating all possible social experimentation that could represent a challenge to the priests of the dominant cult, the only ones authorized to do social experiments through planning and legislation.
Considering that personal and social progress originates from involvement in new and more demanding challenges (that have nothing to do with the manufacture by the state of fake aims to be followed and false enemies to be fought), the lack of true challenges might be an ominous indicator of impending personal and social disasters.
The general framework (^)
The various theoretical principles and practical tools previously highlighted should be seen as interrelated working hypotheses to be used to the extent and in so far as they apply to reality in a productive and sensible way.
In science there are no beliefs in the form of dogmas whose validity is ascertained and accepted once for all.
What should now have become clear by examining the way knowledge advances is that the social sciences are persistently failing in the task of providing science, that is, producing new knowledge. This situation is likely to continue and get worse unless creative/energetic individuals succeed in disposing of three current failures of the social scientists. They are:
1. The wrong items
2. The absurd totems
3. The narrow views.
1. The wrong items (in the social agenda)
Social scientists have put in the agenda of the social sciences a series of wrong items, generally in the form of stark contrapositions.
If successful identification of the problem (i.e. the topic/area on which to focus attention) can be said to represent a first important step towards its solution, putting wrong items in the social agenda is like compounding the problem, i.e. running away from solutions.
Wrong items in the social agenda are, for instance, the following polarities:
|"This controversy [nature vs. nurture] constitutes a pseudo-problem because it is based on false premises. Whether the organism be microbe, corn plant, fruit fly, or man, all its characteristics are hereditary, and all are also determined by the environment."
(René Dubos, Man Adapting, 1980)
|"The practice of speaking of distinct entities, body and mind, is so deeply embedded in our linguistic traditions that to many people it seems absurd to question its fundamental validity. But this problem, like many others, has complexities that are not apparent to common sense."
(J. Z. Young, An Introduction to the Study of Man, 1971)
|"[...] It is above all necessary to avoid postulating 'society' once more as an abstraction confronting the individual. The individual is a social being. The manifestation of his life - even when it does not appear directly in the form of a social manifestation, accomplished in association with other human beings - is therefore a manifestation and affirmation of social life."
(Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844)
|"Imagine what kind of science of zoology or crystallography we would have where everything were brought down to one dimension classifying all the objects only by their size or according to whether they were light or dark or smooth or rough. Actually, even that would be better, because at least these qualities do exist and do form a continuum, whereas nobody has succeeded in fixing the meaning of Left and Right and people are continually quarrelling about who is on the Left or Right of Whom."
(Stanislav Andreski, Social Sciences as Sorcery, 1972)
|"Parts and wholes in an absolute sense do not exist in the domains of life."
(Arthur Koestler, in Beyond Reductionism, 1969)
|"Ours is a brand new world of allatonceness [all-at-once-ness]. 'Time' has ceased, 'space' has vanished. We now live in a global village ... a simultaneous happening." "The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village. "
(Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore, 1967)
Other wrong items that have attracted plenty of unnecessary attention and dissipated a lot of energy that might have been better employed are:
- The end of history: capitalism has won, communism has lost. End of story.
This is a ludicrous thesis in itself, considering that history never ends as long as the human adventure continues. It is even more ludicrous (a) because capitalism disappeared long ago, replaced by statism and (b) because the rulers of the Soviet Union never implemented communism (socialization of all instruments of production and equalization of living conditions) but merely a backward form of statism. This thesis is on a par with Hegel's statement that, with the establishment of the Prussian state, we had reached the final stage of civilization.
- The clash of civilizations: we are good, they are bad. Full stop.
Social scientists and state rulers desperately need an enemy (the anarchists, the Jews, the communists, the Muslims, etc.) otherwise they would be out of a job. No wonder then that, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a lousy idea such as the clash of civilizations received so much attention and acclaim from the "intellectuals". It filled a deep political need and it doesn't really matter if it is utter trash.
- The race to the bottom: the rise of those at the bottom threatens to make everybody fall to the bottom of the pyramid.
This is the most vicious of all the lies spread by the social scientists and betrays the traditional behaviour of all the bullies of this world who, once they have reached a position of strength, want to safeguard it at all costs through protectionism (called 'fair trade') and monopolism (called 'anti-dumping measures').
Many social scientists are either directly responsible for these wrong items or have let their minds be filled up with them. They have then filled paper after paper with disquisitions about these wrong items, with which they have, in their turn, filled the minds of many students and readers. Some of these disciples would eventually become social scientists and continue the chain of meaningless/idiotic discussions presented as profound/enlightening debates.
2. The absurd totems (in the social agenda)
The wrong items, once accepted and perpetuated, have the tendency to become, quite often, absurd totems, unquestioned and unquestionable.
In general, the people whose main objective is power embellish, with appealing statements of good intentions, the way they will use the power they covet so much. The intellectuals as social priests are fascinated by these catchy statements promising solutions to every possible social ill. The fuller these statements are of the absurd totems of social life, the happier the intellectuals are to adopt and promote them.
For instance, 'democracy' is one of those totems and, probably with 'socialism', is the most seductive of all. Democracy is the common unquestioned belief of all mainstream social scientists. To openly admit being against democracy is still considered a blasphemous thought and act. It never occurs to the conventional social scientist that, in order to be in favour of the individual, of his autonomy and empowerment, we must necessarily be against the tyranny of the majority, which is what democracy actually is, once we go beyond the usual lip-service paid to safeguarding the rights of minorities.
|"The outside world has not grasped the spiritual foundation of the National Socialist revolution and is still debating about democracy versus dictatorship, while the German revolution is democracy in the highest sense of the word. ... I am also one of the people and not a foreign intellectual or apostle of international revolution."
(Adolf Hitler, from a speech to the Reichstag, January 30, 1937)
So, in order to uphold the totems, the social scientists must make them appear to be what, in reality, they are not (e.g. democracy as power of the people, socialism as a form of organization centring on society) and mere words must be presented as factual reality (e.g. pro-democracy discourses as democracy in action, pro-socialist discourses as socialism in action).
At that point the intellectuals would go to any length to portray the ensuing reality in such a way as to minimize or even obliterate any discrepancy with those words, which evoke a reality they hold dear (at least in the abstract).
However, simply stating that we intend to solve a problem does not point us even to the beginning of a solution; or to call a society socialist, liberal or democratic does not advance anyone along the road to well-being, freedom and personal empowerment.
Nevertheless, for the verbose intellectuals, appealing words and grandiose statements are all they need. There they find plenty of materials for exercising their arts, by elaborating and glossing those statements with the production of further documents, in a multiplication of printed paper that, quite often, is in inverse relation to the production of original ideas and certainly has no connection with or impact on actual reality.
All this is in total contrast with science, which has no totems either in the form of holy masters or in the form of sacred cow statements. On the contrary, the main feature of science is its continuous self-scrutiny in order to find possible discrepancies between statements and reality.
The absurd totems of the social scientists are both the source and the outcome of their narrow views.
3. The narrow views (in the social agenda)
The narrow views of the social scientists derive from the way academics (and politicians) have organized official knowledge and its transmission. The academic division of science into two main camps (social sciences and physical sciences), subdivided in their turn into a series of more or less delimited sub-areas, is the very negation of a scientific (i.e. cognitive) approach to reality.
As already pointed out, all these divisions have started to crumble in some areas and in some cases, but most academics will not give up easily their exclusive rights over some cognitive pastures, and so they usually support each other in upholding their feudal rights.
However, not everybody is on the bandwagon of jealous particularism.
The presentation of the General System Theory goes back at least to the middle of the XX century (Ludwig von Bertalanffy, 1950), while the systemic approach can be traced to the beginning of science.
In the wake of the general system theory other interesting views have been put forward, like the concept of the Holon [from holos = whole] (Arthur Koestler, 1967) and the idea of Consilience or Unity of Knowledge (Edward O. Wilson, 1998).
|"The organism is to be regarded as a multi-levelled hierarchy of semi-autonomous sub-wholes, branching into sub-wholes of a lower order, and so on. Sub-wholes on any level of the hierarchy are referred to as holons."
(Arthur Koestler, in Beyond Reductionism, 1969)
|"Disciplinary boundaries within the natural sciences are disappearing, to be replaced by shifting hybrid domains in which consilience is implicit. These domains reach across many levels of complexity, from chemical physics and physical chemistry to molecular genetics, chemical ecology, and ecological genetics. None of the new specialties is considered more than a focus of research."
"Given that human action comprises events of physical causation, why should the social sciences and humanities be impervious to consilience with the natural sciences?"
(Edward O. Wilson, Consilience, 1998)
From a systemic/holistic perspective, all reality is seen as a continuum (of entities and events and features) characterized by variety within unity.
The narrow view of the social scientists cancels both variety and unity and replaces all with simplistic, stultifying polarities (left-right, public-private, individual-society, etc.) mainly invented for their convenience as topics of interminable and, we should add, inane debate.
Where all this (wrong items, absurd totems, narrow views) will lead, is something that should concern everybody because the likely outcome is, indeed, reducing humanities into inanities, i.e. totally pointless exercise. Science (i.e. structured knowledge) is too important to be left in the hands of professional scientists and, least of all, in those of so-called social scientists.
|"The organization and the rule of the new society by socialist savants is the worst of all despotic governments!"
(Mikhail Bakunin, 1872)
We need now to present scenarios of possible futures and to do so it is necessary to start focusing on the main characteristics of human nature and social dynamics, because the future will be, as it has always been, the result of who we are, how we behave and how much we are aware of our true nature and actual behaviour.
 Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
 Mikhail Bakunin, Dieu et l'état
 Sigmund Freud, Thoughts for the Times on War and Death
 Walter Bradford Cannon, The Wisdom of the Body
 Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration in A.Tillet, T. Kempener and G. Wills eds., Management Thinkers, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1978
 Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, Oxford University Press, London, 1957 (abridgement in two volumes by D. C. Somervell)
 Sigfried Giedion, Man in Equipoise
 W. Ross Ashby, An Introduction to Cybernetics, Chapman & Hall, London
see also: http://www.panarchy.org/ross/variety.1956.html
 Kenneth Boulding, General Systems Theory. The Skeleton of Science
 Milton A. Rothman, The Laws of Physics, Penguin, Harmondsworth
 René Dubos, Man Adapting, Yale University Press, New Haven, Enlarged Edition 1980
 Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, Hutchinson, London
 Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage, Penguin, Harmondsworth
 Jean Piaget, Le structuralisme, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris [Structuralism, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1971]
 Ludwig von Bertalanffy, General System Theory, Allen Lane The Penguin Press, London, 1971
see also: http://www.panarchy.org/bertalanffy/system.1968.html
 Arthur Koestler in, Beyond Reductionism. New Perspectives in the Life Sciences, Hutchinson, London, 1969
see also: http://www.panarchy.org/koestler/holon.1969.html
 J. Z. Young, An Introduction to the Study of Man, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979
 George Chadwick, A Systems View of Planning, Pergamon Press, Oxford
 Stanislav Andreski, Social Sciences as Sorcery, André Deutsch, London
 Conrad Waddington, Tools for Thought, Jonathan Cape, London
 Edward O. Wilson, Consilience. The Unity of Knowledge, Alfred A. Knopf, New York