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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VII. WumanKinder: An Emergent Earthomo Transition in Individuality

2. Complex Local to Global Network Biosocieties

Lansing, J. Stephen, et al. Adaptive Self-Organization of Bali’s Ancient Rice Terraces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114/6504, 2017. A seven member team from the Santa Fe Institute, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Stockholm Resilience Center, and the Medical University of Vienna (Stefan Thurner) add a new level of sophisticated analysis to these anthropologist Lansing studies (search) over two decades about how these mathematical and geometric fractal-like forms arise naturally via coordinated human behaviors. See also a similar work by Ron Eglash and colleagues with regard to African villages and artistic designs.

In Bali, the cooperative management of rice terraces extends beyond villages to whole watersheds. To understand why, we created a model that explores how cooperation can propagate from pairs of individuals to extended groups, creating a resilient system of bottom-up management that both increases and equalizes harvests. Spatial patterns of collective crop management—observable in Google Earth—closely match the predictions of the model. The spatial patterning that emerges is nonuniform and scale-free. Although the model parameters here are tuned to Bali, similar mechanisms of emergent global control should be detectible in other anthropogenic landscapes using multispectral imagery. Recognizing this signature of emergent system-wide cooperation may help planners to avoid unproductive changes to successful bottom-up systems of environmental management. (Significance)

Lansing, Stephen. Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. The University of Arizona anthropologist achieves an unique understanding of intricate, long standing cultural practices by way of complex system principles. In collaboration with the Santa Fe Institute, these studies find that the terracing and irrigation of rice planting in central, mountainous Bali, which is maintained by water temple networks, farmer cooperatives, pest control programs, and so on, can be modeled as a self-organizing complex adaptive system. Centuries old efforts to form a vertically ordered society as a cosmological microcosm can today be appreciated in their temporal dynamic sustainability. Check also Lansing's website.

Lee, Edward D., et al. Emergent Regularities and Scaling in Armed Conflict Data. arXiv:1903.07762. I have been tracking the scientific quest for a natural, commonly recurrent, formative principle since general systems in the 1960s. When I visited the Santa Fe Institute in 1987, this endeavor was an incentive and Grail goal. Into Spring 2019, computational theorists EDL and Christopher Myers, Cornell University along with Jessica Flack, David Krakauer and Bryan Daniels, SFI, post a good example whence “dynamic self-similarities and large-scale symmetries” can be discerned even for violently chaotic human behaviors. As the quotes allude, an independent, universally exemplified, mathematical code indeed seems in effect across cosmic to social phases. As long intimated, a second immaterial source is now being found which moves and constrains our travails and micro-social mayhem. See also Universal Scaling Across Biochemical Networks on Earth by this collaborative team in Science Advances (5/1, 2019).

Large-scale armed conflict is a characteristic feature of modern civilization. The statistics of conflict show remarkable regularities like power law distributions of fatalities and durations, but these properties have remained disparate, albeit prominent, features of conflict. We explore a large, detailed data set of 105 armed conflict reports spanning 20 years across nearly 104 kilometers. By clustering proximate events into conflict avalanches, we show that the number of conflict reports, fatalities, duration, and geographic extent satisfy consistent scaling relations. The temporal evolution measured by these scaling variables display emergent symmetry, reflecting self-similarity in the trajectories of conflict avalanches. A natural interpretation of our findings is a criticality state, suggesting that armed conflicts are dominated by a low-dimensional process that scales with physical dimensions in a unified and predictable way. (Abstract)

Taken all together, these features furnish quantitative constraints for the prediction of armed conflict. In kind, universal features and scaling laws have now been found in a variety of large-scale social systems demonstrating that ideas from statistical physics can structure our understanding of social phenomena. In this wider context, our findings hint at the intriguing possibility that these emergent regularities reflect underlying physical principles that shape the evolution of armed conflicts. (4)

Lenski, Gerhard. Ecological-Evolutionary Theory. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2005. The emeritus University of North Carolina sociologist and author, long an advocate of an expanded natural context for human societies, provides a summary volume of his thought and teachings from the Stone Age to the modern era.

Levinson, Stephen and Pierre Jaisson. Evolution and Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005. Out in November, the proceedings of a Fyssen Foundation symposium on behavioral, functional, linguistic, and especially cognitive adaptations for cultural human society.

Li, Angsheng and Pan Peng. Community Structures in Classical Network Models. Internet Mathematics. 7/2, 2011. After a decade of worldwide studies of these evident natural and cultural propensities, once known as Indra’s Web, Chinese Academy of Sciences computation specialists can go on to theoretically explain this constant tendency of vital systems to form or cluster into viable modular assemblies. By so doing, a further measure of robustness is imparted to the universal nested network interconnectedness and interdependency of a genesis cosmos. And by intentional avail, could such indigenous wisdom suggest a more viable future of social ecovillage “protocells?” Professor Li is also cochair of the 2012 Turing Centenary Conference in China. See also “The Small-Community Phenomenon in Networks” by the authors posted July 2011 at arXiv:1107.5786.

Communities (or clusters) are ubiquitous in real-world networks. Researchers from different fields have proposed many definitions of communities, which are usually thought of as a subset of nodes whose vertices are well connected with other vertices in the set and have relatively fewer connections with vertices outside the set. In contrast to traditional research that focuses mainly on detecting and/or testing such clusters, we propose a new definition of community and a novel way to study community structure, with which we are able to investigate mathematical network models to test whether they exhibit the small-community phenomenon, i.e., whether every vertex in the network belongs to some small community. (Abstract, 81)

Communities are naturally thought of as cohesive subgraphs in a network. Informally, vertices in a community are well interconnected with fellow members of the community and have relatively fewer connections with vertices outside the community. Communities appear in a wide range of applications. For instance, in protein-protein interaction networks, groups of proteins sharing the same or similar functions are clustered together, in society, the communities may correspond to groups of friends or coworkers, in scientific collaboration networks, scientists who investigate similar research topics or use similar methodologies group together to form communities. (82)

Given that networks are natural mathematical models for describing relationships of massive objects in many different subjects of both the physical and social sciences, it is an important scientific problem to study the functions, roles, and mechanisms of small communities of general networks in nature, in industry, and in society. In this article, we have proposed a novel approach to defining communities in a network, allowing us to study the small-community phenomenon in some well-defined network models. We show that a number of natural network models satisfy the small-community phenomenon, which can be regarded as a new feature for a number of networks. (102-103)

Macy, Michael, and Robert Willer. From Factors to Actors: Computational Sociology and Agent-Based Modeling. Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 28, 2002. Social scientists are lately coming to universal nonlinear systems science as a way to understand their immensely subject. This cogent introduction again defines many autonomous entities which through their interdependent relations, according to simple rules, self-organize an emergent pattern and behavior.

Sociologists often model social processes as interactions among variables. We review an alternative approach that models social life as interactions among adaptive agents who influence one another in response to the influence they receive. (143)

Mantovani, M., et al. Scaling Laws and Universality in the Choice of Election Candidates. Europhysics Letters. 96/4, 2011. From the Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Departamento de Física, and National Institute of Science and Technology for Complex Systems, Brazil, still another quantification that each and every realm of reality is distinguished by a duality of manifest, exemplary behavior, and an immaterial, mathematic, ultimately genetic, source it arises from.

Nowadays there is an increasing interest of physicists in finding regularities related to social phenomena. This interest is clearly motivated by applications that a statistical mechanical description of the human behavior may have in our society. By using this framework, we address this work to cover an open question related to elections: the choice of elections candidates. Our analysis reveals that, apart from the social motivations, this system displays features of traditional out-of-equilibrium physical phenomena such as scale-free statistics and universality. Basically, we found a non-linear (power law) mean correspondence between the number of candidates and the size of the electorate, and also that this choice has a multiplicative underlying process (lognormal behavior). The universality of our findings is supported by data from 16 elections from 5 countries. In addition, we show that aspects of network scale-free can be connected to this universal behavior. (Abstract, 48001)

Social phenomena are nowadays ubiquitous in the research performed by many physicists. In these investigations, the human behavior plays a central role and it constitutes the basic ingredient of the emergent picture. However, despite the complex scenario related to human activities, statistical physics models have been successfully applied to explain collective aspects of social systems. This success gives rise to the possibility that, similarly to large-scale physical thermodynamic systems, large groups of interacting humans may exhibit universal statistical properties. For the society organization in general, this statistical mechanical description of the human activities seems to be promising in resource management, service allocation, political strategies, among others. (Introduction, 48001)

Marsalla, Anthony. Toward a ‘Global-Community Psychology.’. American Psychology. 53/12, 1998. An expansion of psychological science beyond its Western phase is recommended to become more multicultural, ethnically correct, and racially sensitive, in order to face the intense personal and social issues of a world society.

Masuda, Takahiko and Richard Nisbett. Culture and Change Blindness. Cognitive Science. 30/2, 2006. When scenic or urban images are shown to participants and then slightly altered, East Asians attend more to contextual settings, while Westerners preferentially focus on individual objects.

Mayntz, Renate. Chaos in Society. Grebogi, C. and James Yorke, eds. The Impact of Chaos on Science and Society. Toyko: United Nations University Press, 1997. A more appropriate sociological science ought to be informed by the dynamics of nonlinear self-organization.

Human societies obviously display all the characteristic features of nonlinear non-equilibrium systems: unpredictability due to complex interdependencies and recursive processes, hysteresis, phase transitions, and critical mass phenomena. (300)

Mesoudi, Alex. Cultural Evolution: How Darwinian Theory can Explain Human Culture and Synthesize the Social Sciences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. With this book and prior articles (search here and AM’s website), the University of London psychologist is in the forefront of a 21st century quantitative confirmation, long in the offing, of a seamless continuity (how could it be otherwise) between prior biological and recent societal realms. As noted below, “culture” includes linguistic, psychological, economic, neural, and ethnic dimensions. Compare with Etienne Danchin, et al, with AM as a coauthor, as a new generation of researchers are able to join much recent evidence to flesh out and confirm this expanded evolutionary developmental syntheses. An update article by AM is Cultural Evolution: A Review in Evolutionary Biology (Online April, 2015).

In this book I survey a growing body of scientific research that is based on the fundamental premise that cultural change – by which I mean changes in socially transmitted beliefs, knowledge, technology, languages, social institutions, and so on – shares the very same principles that Darwin applied to biological change in The Origin a century and a half ago. In other words, culture evolves. (viii)

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