(Politics and the Human Spirit – Installment 4)
Even as a kid in school I was fascinated by the nested structure of things… systems within systems within systems.
In high school and beyond, one of my main interests was the similarity between the inner workings of the human body and the inner workings of human society. I spent years thinking, researching and writing about how societies behaved like big, lumbering people… and how people did for their societies what body cells do for the body. I saw a lot of similarities and also a lot of differences… and I tried to understand exactly what it was that made human beings different from body cells.
In my thirties, when I got cancer and had a spiritual awakening, those bio-social fascinations retreated to the back burner for awhile as I immersed myself in the exploration of the afterlife and spiritual existence.
Now it’s all starting to come together in my mind, painting a fascinating picture of human life.
Information in the Body
Your body’s made up of 100,000,000,000 (100 trillion) body cells. Every body cell has its own routines and motivations… flexing muscles, running the organs… playing its part to keep you functioning. The cells are like 100 trillion little people all working together but each doing its own thing within a compact biological society… the human body.
About 1% of those body cells (1 trillion) are nerve cells, or neurons, which make up the brain and nervous system—a vast network that carries Information to all the organs and tissues.
About 10% of the neurons (100 billion) are in the brain.
So, about 0.1% of our body cells are brain cells.
The brain is the body’s computer complex. It processes information and serves it to all parts of the body. Most of the decisions throughout the body are still made at the cellular level, via DNA, energy production in the mitochondria, and other activity within and among cells… but the high-level decisions that affect the entire body are executed largely by the brain.
So the brain is the body’s computer hardware.
It runs a program that we call “the human mind.” The mind is the living software program that directs much of our behavior as a human being. It’s essentially a mental model of reality.
Each of us has our own unique mental model—an inner roadmap—that helps us navigate through life. It’s shaped largely by the information streaming into our mind through the five senses, also the finer spiritual impressions we get through the higher senses… for example, during dreams, intuitive hits, and meditations.
As information enters our mind we are constantly touching up the map… adjusting the model to fit the new information.
If we could remove that living computer program from the brain, it would be called our “spirit.” It’s the part of us that lives on after we die.
But while we’re alive on Earth, for all intents and purposes, the mind is the software program run by our cranial hardware—the brain.
So that’s the general (and much over-simplified) idea of how information is spread, assimilated, and used in the body. As a combination of body, mind, and spirit.
Information in Modern Society
Government at the national level (what we in the States call “federal government”) is the brain of society, processing high-level information and serving it to the system in the form of laws, rules, and regulation.
National politics is the mind of society. Decisions are made by political bodies within government (legislatures, councils, judicial systems…) that try to take into account the well-being of the rest of society.
Government is the hardware for social regulation; politics is the software. Politics, in its purest form, would be the spirit of society.
Politics today has not yet evolved into its purest form and is not really the spirit of society… and in my next article I’ll try to explain why. Meanwhile…
Societies today do indeed bear some resemblance to the human body. If the brain of society is national government, the nervous system of society is a complex system of parts that spread information and decisions throughout the system… especially the Internet.
Society’s nervous system, being the disseminator of information, would also include (as well as the Internet) schools, libraries, the media, and the various lower-level governments serving states, provinces, and cities.
When comparing the diagrams above (Internet and nerves), it appears that, thanks to modern technology, society is starting to look more and more like the human body.
It’s interesting to speculate, based on how the human body works, just how human societies might someday look, as they evolve in such a way that politics reflect more and more the spirit of society.
More in the next article….
Politics and the Human Spirit series:
1 Introduction 2 Privatization and the public good 3 Military 4 Information 5 Spirit of Society 6 Education 7 Regulation 8 Economics 9 Managing the World in the 21st Century – 10 The carnal line between noble and savage – 11 Embrace the divine; it’s where we shine – 12 Who decides what? – 13 Finally… good politics
Best and worst countries to be born – Election fraud 2012 – Best and worst US presidents – Humor in politics – Biggest political news – End of the American dream – Blown to bits in the computer age – Standards, the key to peace – What Obama and Stalin really have in common – Bad counsel and a short leash – Capital punishment & the human spirit
This instantly reminded me of something – it brings me back to some hollywood-produced (ugh) movies that portray the classic “computer vs. human” dichotomy. Computers supposedly can’t truly be human because they’re not capable of showing emotions, having feelings or displaying genuine personalities. Your model tends to fly in the face of that particular theory by joining the two archetypes and saying that the “computer” is representative of the brain, which is the central framework, and the “human” is the spirit (or personality) that becomes implemented, or executed like software. Those movies I speak of are “Bicentennial Man” and “Artificial Intelligence”. I suppose the core concept of the “Terminator” could be relevant too.
I don’t care for Hollywood at all, as I really believe that they’re contributing to a very bad decline in society’s psychological makeup, but I thought these could be interesting/relevant.
I appreciate your articles!! All the best!
Ditto to Ricky’s well worded sentiments and expression.
Also, imagine how Hollywood could positively contribute to social evolution….
Hi Ricky… hi John,
Yes, the marriage of technology with the human spirit is where I seem to be heading with this series of articles on politics. That’s what ITC is, after all. I wasn’t consciously going there with these political articles, but that’s where it’s heading. Thanks for shedding light on that.
I also agree with the comments about TV shows and the movies. The encroaching darkness into modern civilization… I’ve long felt that Hollywood has been as major contributor with the incredibly graphic violence, the cursing and raunchiness in so many movies nowadays.
One thing I’ve observed over the years, though, is that the easiest way to make money in the world is by gratifying people’s cravings that bubble up from the savage side. Tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, sugar, dramas that stir the hormones… Lots of people, corporations, and mobs get rich that way!
(an example of the rough battle:
Soda Industry Sues)
Hollywood really could contribute to a positive transformation for humanity with tasteful dramas and good esoteric documentaries that celebrate humanity’s noble side (love, trust, good will…) Trouble is that as a rule they don’t attract as many viewers, so they don’t make as much money for the producers. (Exceptions would probably include movies like Sound of Music, E.T., Titanic, and Seabiscuit… and maybe the TV series Downton Abbey.)
Not sure where I’m going with this, other than to say that in a free-market political environment it’s not easy to change the flow of the media toward a nobler path. (Although agencies like Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are supposed to help to some degree.) Mostly, decisions are made by marketers based on how to get the biggest pay-off… and appealing to the savage side, e.g. with raunchy action flicks, seems to be the safer, easier bet for that… here on Earth where hormones rule.
I have a lot of admiration for the folks who take the time and have the skill to construct compelling dramas that pull the delighted audience into nobler visions. I love those exceptions to the rule!