Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The "cultural heritage" group neurosis 14: The physics of cultural evolution.

Cultural objects
Gravity (G) is relative to the mass of the
object and the energy (E) exerted against
The energy of the psyche obeys the laws of classical physics providing that this energy is viewed only as quantitative. Any qualitative view of psychic energy can only be understood through the application of psychology aligned with quantum physics (the psychophysical universe).

In the diagram, the object can be any cultural idea, observation, belief, or a linked set of such (cultural frame). Gravity is the force that contains the object and prevents its disintegration. In (a), enough energy is applied to the object to allow it to escape from its gravitational field and come into contact with objects outside of the confining effect of that field. In (b), the energy is insufficient for the object to escape and the only interactions that can take place are between parts of the object (such as variations and developments of the same idea or components of the same cultural frame). In (c), a cultural object has escaped its gravitational field and has come into contact with another cultural object in the same state. This results in free exchanges of energy while both objects still retain their individual identity. Each object is also able to contact other objects in the same state (where the energies, while of different intensities, are sufficient to overcome the local gravity field) and the result is a "cultural  mosaic" or constellation. Evolution can take place within this mosaic as the energy is manifested as adaptability and the different strengths of each idea contribute some immunity to destructive forces that could adversely effect one part of the mosaic that does not have that resistance. A biological correlate would be when, through breeding, one organism passes on resistance to some disease to its offspring where that resistance was not present in the other parent.

I drew (c) smaller than (a) and (b) to show that the mass of each object was not too great. If the mass of an object was extreme it would act like a black hole and smaller objects in its vicinity would be destroyed as soon as they crossed its event horizon and their mass would be added to the mass of the black hole and adopt all of its characteristics. Yet, a great number of these smaller objects exchanging information could, collectively, grow to a size far exceeding the larger objects shown above. For evolution to take place, however, each of the integral objects would have to retain their individual identity while exchanging information (energy) with each other and effecting a balance of combined energies. More importantly, though, they would also have to engage with yet more small objects sharing the same state otherwise entropy would ensue.
"The principle of equivalence is one proposition of practical importance in the theory of energy; the other proposition, necessary and complementary, is the principle of entropy. Transformations of energy are possible only as a result of differences in intensity. According to Carnot’s law, heat can be converted into work only by passing from a warmer to a colder body. But mechanical work is continually being converted into heat, which on account of its reduced intensity cannot be converted back into work. In this way a closed energic system gradually reduces its differences in intensity to an even temperature, whereby any further change is prohibited. ...
"Psychologically, we can see this process at work in the development of a lasting and relatively unchanging attitude. After violent oscillations at the beginning the opposites equalize one another, and gradually a new attitude develops, the final stability of which is the greater in proportion to the magnitude of the initial differences. The greater the tension between the pairs of opposites, the greater will be the energy that comes from them; and the greater the energy, the stronger will be its constellating, attracting power. This increased power of attraction corresponds to a wider range of constellated psychic material, and the further this range extends, the less chance is there of subsequent disturbances which might arise from friction with material not previously constellated. For this reason an attitude that has been formed out of a far-reaching process of equalization is an especially lasting one."
C. G. Jung, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8: Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche: On Psychic Energy (pp. 25-26). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
Diagram (b) is a closed system, and if it ceases to grow, diagram (c) also becomes a closed system. Entropy can only take place within a closed system.
"The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm which is not easily disturbed, or else a brokenness that can hardly be healed. Conversely, it is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed in order to produce valuable and lasting results. Since our experience is confined to relatively closed systems, we are never in a position to observe an absolute psychological entropy; but the more the psychological system is closed off, the more clearly is the phenomenon of entropy manifested. We see this particularly well in those mental disturbances which are characterized by intense seclusion from the environment. The so-called “dulling of affect” in dementia praecox or schizophrenia may well be understood as a phenomenon of entropy. The same applies to all those so-called degenerative phenomena which develop in psychological attitudes that permanently exclude all connection with the environment. Similarly, such voluntarily directed processes as directed thinking and directed feeling can be viewed as relatively closed psychological systems. These functions are based on the principle of the exclusion of the inappropriate, or unsuitable, which might bring about a deviation from the chosen path. The elements that “belong” are left to a process of mutual equalization, and meanwhile are protected from disturbing influences from outside. Thus after some time they reach their “probable” state, which shows its stability in, say, a “lasting” conviction or a “deeply ingrained” point of view, etc. How firmly such things are rooted can be tested by anyone who has attempted to dissolve such a structure, for instance to uproot a prejudice or change a habit of thought. In the history of nations these changes have cost rivers of blood. But in so far as absolute insulation is impossible (except, maybe, in pathological cases), the energic process continues as development, though, because of “loss by friction,” with lessening intensity and decreased potential.
"This way of looking at things has long been familiar. Everyone speaks of the “storms of youth” which yield to the “tranquillity of age.” We speak, too, of a “confirmed belief” after “battling with doubts,” of “relief from inner tension,” and so on. This is the involuntary energic standpoint shared by everyone. For the scientific psychologist, of course, it remains valueless so long as he feels no need to estimate psychological values, while for physiological psychology this problem does not arise at all."
ibid, (pp. 26-27).

In the evolutionary view, closed systems become subject to extinction. We can see this with Pre-Columbian civilizations which, cut off from the rest of the world, did not advance as fast as other civilizations and when met with a "Black Swan Event" through agricultural collapse or the arrival of Europeans carrying not only new disease but with conquest on their mind, these civilizations became extinct.

"Cultural heritage" is ultra-conservative and anti-evolutionary. Frequently, its policies are opposed, but to no avail, and by not recognizing the "stuckness" or the fact that it has shifted to its opposite (enantiodromia) and is actually destroying culture (which has to be ever-changing and adapting in order to survive at all), the opposition takes on the same characteristics and does not change, either. Any victory at all (if one is even possible) would be a Pyrrhic victory where both opposing forces are virtually destroyed.

This is of no concern, whatsoever, to the evil that created the conflict in the first place as it had no interest in either of the major cultural frames and was just using their opposition to achieve political/economic ends which can then be achieved through different means even though with greater difficulty.
" is precisely the paradox before us: conservation (i.e. “saving our cultural heritage”), on which the structure of the officialized heritage is based, is identified with resisting change, while change is the primary object of the socio-economic development embraced by a growing number of heritage professionals. And this paradox is not simply theoretical but poses a serious challenge to the future role of cultural heritage within society. On the international and national levels, the traditional forms and structures of heritage conservation (or “safeguarding” for intangible heritage) remain intact, with specially trained and officially qualified experts 1.) adopting universal criteria for significance and value; 2.) categorizing and studying the physical types; 3.) creating inventories of specific vessels of significance and value; 4.) establishing guidelines and codes of protection, and 5.) protecting the extant physical manifestations that are recognized as “authentic” or expressive of traditional values from transformatory change. Yet tolerance for and even encouragement of far-reaching change lies at the heart of the new development imperative. Indeed the idea of “heritage and development” is seen by its supporters not only as a necessary matter of social relevance for the heritage profession but—no less important—as a source of funding ambitious heritage initiatives at a time when governments are slashing their culture budgets and when traditional subventions from private and corporate philanthropy are harder than ever to find."
Neil Silberman, Changing Visions of Heritage Value What Role Should the Experts Play?
 We see here, the first stages of extinction.

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