SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Trajectory

Nash Popovic profile image

Written by Dr. Nash Popovic

In dialectical terms, social development can be described first as the move away from the general direction of the Intent and then back towards it. The thesis (an unconscious alignment) would correspond to the physical stage; the antithesis (separation – the process of individuation and increasing independence) includes the move from the physical stage and, via the conventional stage, reaches its peak at the individual stage; the synthesis (a conscious re-alignment with the direction of the Intent) is represented by the transcendent stage.

This is a very simple diagram of the process:

Trajectory

The curve should be imagined as a spiral around the central axis (the length of its segments do not correspond to physical time, but to an approximate amount of change that took place). Moreover, the spiral is not a simple line. A smaller spiral going around it, as drawn between the physical and the conventional stages (and other spirals around that one) would be a better representation. But, why spirals at all? Is there any justification for that?

In the introduction to History & Mathematics, Trends and Cycles, Leonid Grinin and Andrey Korotayev write:

Already ancient historians… described rather well the cyclical component of historical dynamics, whereas new interesting analyses of such dynamics also appeared in the Medieval and Early Modern periods… This is not surprising as the cyclical dynamics was dominant in the agrarian social systems. With modernization, the trend dynamics became much more pronounced… The trend and cycle components of historical dynamics turn out to be of equal importance.

Trajectory snakes​The long-term interaction of macrotrends of the world system development and shorter-term cyclical dynamics is best represented by a spiral dynamic. This is not something new. The curve reflects a well-known symbol from ancient times, depicted with two intertwined serpents around God’s staff, called the caduceus (still used nowadays as a medical emblem). It is, perhaps, not a coincidence that this symbol resembles the double helix of DNA. In esoteric tradition, the two serpents of the caduceus represent the process of evolution[1]: ‘spirit descending into matter and rising again enlightened into spirit’ (Watson, 1991, p.307). The serpent has traditionally symbolised knowledge, enlightenment and wisdom (the Western association with evil is relatively recent and atypical). From this perspective, the myth of the serpent inviting Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge can be interpreted as the start of a new phase of the evolutionary process, ‘a liberation from unconscious

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