With all our so-called human intelligence, we have failed to understand that humanity is just one aspect of a much larger self-organising system that comprises the planet we know of as Earth.
James Lovelock was one of the first scientists to recognise the self-regulating function of the Earth’s biosphere. He called this the Gaia hypothesis.
Thus, humanity is one part of a larger whole system—the Earth, which itself is just one part of a larger whole system—theSolar system, which in turn, is just one part of a larger whole system—the Universe. We live in a nested holarchy—a hierarchy of holons—within which each holon is a self-regulating entity.
A Holon is something which is at the same time both a part and a whole.
To live in external equilibrium every holon within every holon must be functional, adaptive and sustainable. It must be viable and independent in its framework of existence; it must be able to change in response to internal and external destabilising events and it must be able to regulate its functions so as not to disturb the internal stability and external equilibrium of the holon within which it exists. If a holon cannot fulfil these three requirements, the larger holon will regulate itself in a manner that could significantly impact the ability of the smaller holon to exist.
Thus, if business and the banking system, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of society (a holon inside the holon of society), continues to destabilise the operation of society by not regulating itself, it will find society regulating business and the banking system in a way that significantly impacts its current functionality and existence.
Similarly, if humanity, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment (a holon inside the holon of the Earth), continues to destabilise the operation of planet by not regulating itself, it will find the planet regulating humanity in a way that significantly impacts its current functionality and existence.
Thus, the central issue facing humanity at this point in time is self-regulation. What makes this difficult, and at times seemingly impossible, is that we do not have a system for regulating ourselves at a global level. We have bits and pieces of a system such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations, but nothing that has any real authority to regulate and discipline the actions of nations locally for the good of humanity and the preservation of our life support system—the Earth.
We have country-based democracies that self-regulate societies within the territories we call nations, but we do not have a global system of democratic governance that self-regulates humanity. The problem with these national systems of Government is that the problems they are now facing are outside of their control. The problems of existence are global but the structures we have for dealing with them are national.
The key to our future as a species depends on us developing such a global system of governance. We need a self-regulating holon for humanity, that supports the self-regulating holon we call Gaia on which we depend for our survival.
Chapter 26: External Cohesion in Society