6.9 C
lunedì 4 Dicembre 2023
And if tomorrow, and I stress if...Scheduling the unpredictable*

Scheduling the unpredictable*

The current crisis represents a process break. The most important innovation does not concern individual choices but the approach in analyzing and selecting the objectives to be tested. The complex systemic dimension is the unavoidable option that decision-makers too, in economy, politics and social re-planning, must take to direct the development of events.

A real number is a complex number with zero imaginary part

The entire bibliography of science fiction, until the birth of the trend Cyberpunk included, failed to anticipate an interconnected society through a network based on the Internet. Many futures had been imagined, many dystopian, others capable of indicating the power of science or technology; very few who addressed the theme of a life holistic way. Some titles were no exception. No one, however, managed to foresee a technological leap capable of innervating the whole human process. Yet, for several decades, the theme of discovery, first, and then increase, of complexity as a structure of nature and human societies had become a sufficiently clear element. And that complexity feeds on “connections” …

In reality, science fiction had anticipated the limits of specialisms by coining, with the writer Alfred van Vogt, a real “discipline”, connectivism, embodied by Elliot Grosvenor, the protagonist of the novel Cruise in infinity, the result of the union of a series of short stories that began before 1939 and published in 1950. The Canadian writer assumed that, having each discipline reached very high levels of specialization, a new science capable of re-establish the connections between the skills and knowledge of one discipline and the other. Whoever dealt with this would have been defined as a “connectivist“.

Thirty years later, within the field of information technology, a line of research was born that took the name of “connectionism“. In 1982 an IT researcher from Berkeley, Jerome Feldman, developed an application that will find great fortune in the field of applied informatics: neural networks. The possibility of translating thoughts into meaningful graphemes, renewable and mutant constituted an approach that resulted in a techno-scientific paradigm that established itself in the 1980s as the first working hypothesis on the theme of replication and production of thought in the context of nascent Intelligence. Artificial. The connectionism considered the computer equipment (hardware and software, no longer as systems to be instructed ‘from above’ (top-down), storing data on which to operate, but ‘from below’ (bottom-up), proceeding with the semantic structuring a network of agents and meta-digital agents able to perform certain operations; the ability to structure the operation instructions, and then, was realized using diffusive techniques of ‘trial and error’(trial and error). The computer system (and in particular the software at the time) was learning from failed experiences. In practice, the process began to simulate the functioning of the brain, by cooperating single simple units (comparable to neurons) which, working closely together, would reconfigure themselves according to the tasks to be performed, in practice learning from their mistakes. The simulation of an interaction process between various elements of a system that the American scientist – the one who paved the way for massively parallel computers and their use in artificial intelligence, William Daniel Hillis, a pupil of Claude Shannon – was being inaugurated as one of the key factors of a biological system: “everything interacts with everything in biology, but somehow this seems to increase the resistance of the system, not make it more fragile” (Hillis, 1994). It is no coincidence that the scientist, who is also an entrepreneur and inventor, eventually co-founded Applied Mindif Applied Invention, an interdisciplinary group of engineers, scientists and artists.

Science fiction had “anticipated” the need for complexity, but had not sensed the possibility of a qualitative leap in a network connection.

On the advent of the “network of networks”, the analyzes of these years have focused on changes in access to knowledge, on how the form of relationships or communication exchange changed, on how it transformed the production model and the form of work itself. On the network, we discussed the forms of control and the degrees of freedom in communicating that it triggered, the changes in the structures and the decision-making forms, the impact on the form of the organizational structures, on and with the institutions, with democracy itself.

That change also had a systemic effect seemed to hardly notice. The increase in connections between humans simulated the effect of “locking up within a same space” a growing number of people (and then machines), simulating the construction of a closed space with an exponential increase in diversity. This process was determined faster and faster, precisely as a function of the explosion of the Internet and, in particular, in its social dimension. The increase in connections was equivalent to the reduction of the boundaries of the entire planet to a single “environment”. With Marcello Cini, we addressed, in Lo Spettro del Capitale (Bellucci, Cini, 2009, p. 25), the issue of achieving a certain rate of diversity within a closed environment capable of determining a sort of trigger for self-sustaining processes. It was Stuart Kauffman, in his Evolutionary Explorations, who advanced this hypothesis: «I intend to propose a conception, still in the theoretical stage, according to which life, like Yeats’s rough beasts, crawls towards Bethlehem to be born – virginal birth of all we.

I wish to argue that life is expected, the emerging property of complex networks of chemical reactions. In rather general conditions, as the diversity of molecular species in a system of reactions increases, a phase transition is passed, beyond which the formation of sets of collectively autocatalytic molecules becomes almost inevitable. If so, we are children of molecular diversity, children of second-generation stars.

I will start from an artificial example: threads and buttons. Consider ten thousand buttons on a hardwood floor and a spool of red thread. Let’s take a couple of buttons at random, cut a piece of red thread and tie them. Let’s just repeat the operation, taking successive pairs of random buttons taken from those already paired with another button, and tie them with red thread. From time to time we stop to lift a random button from the floor and check how many buttons will rise as a single connected aggregate of buttons.

And here’s the magic. At first, when there are ten thousand buttons and only a few pairs have been tied, if we raise a random button it will almost certainly be an isolated button, not connected by the red wire to other buttons. It may be that the raised button is already an element of a pair or a small aggregate of a few connected buttons. However, if we continue to tie more pairs of buttons, the ratio between threads and buttons will continue to increase. The size of the largest button aggregate will gradually increase. At an intermediate point, there will be a modest number of aggregates of modest size. But at that point, the addition of a few additional threads will connect, in a random way, buttons of numerous aggregates of modest size into a giant aggregate. In short, as the ratio between threads and buttons grows from scratch, at first there are only small aggregates of connected buttons.

Representing on a graph the size of the largest aggregate as a function of the growth of the ratio between threads and buttons, the width of the largest aggregate does not grow much at first, to then grow rapidly to become a giant aggregate. With the additional random pairing of new buttons, most of the remaining ones gradually find themselves connected in the giant aggregate.

Your exercise has magically created a phase transition ” (Kauffman, 2000, p. 49-50).

Kauffman indicated the evidence, in systems that translate towards complexity, of a real threshold. For the scientist of complexity, the critical relationship of the phase transition is 0.5, i.e. when the number of ends of the wires (two per wire) equals the number of buttons. In his text, he recalls that this approach recalls the random graphs studied already forty years earlier by two Hungarian mathematicians Paul Erdos and Alfred Rényi.

The thesis that I have supported for years is that humanity itself is in a phase of translation towards a system of complexity even higher than that which had characterized it throughout its existence, a passage triggered by the increase in the “threads”, the connections, triggered by the advent of the Internet, by the increase in travel, by the connections that have developed within the companies of the beginning of the millennium.

Just the phase transition is a process with a high degree of complexity, where often and for simplification, we omit parts of such a complex “equation” that make the processes that unfold before our eyes more and more illegible. We tend to bend what exists to a “real” dimension through the cancellation of a part of the complexity that we don’t understand. And the hyper-specializations in which they lock us up / lock us up certainly don’t help. The story of these months tells us a lot about these processes.

“A tiny self-reproducing sequence of amino acids that trigger its replication in Wuhan can cause the history of the planet to change.” – Sergio Bellucci

If, at the end of 2019, someone still had the perception of being able to surf the waves of the world without worrying about the underground currents that passed through it, after the outbreak of the pandemic Covid-19 had to suffer a sharp landing on reality. The underlying complexity appeared in its bare simplicity. Once the world had erased the physical boundaries – which were the limits of human social organization from the times of the times – it first entered a phase that was believed to be of an order absolute(someone even spoke of the End of History), and then entered into a phase of absolute “instability” (the subprime crisis 2008), that of the passage introduction of a structural crisis which, I define as the Transition from an economic-social formation to a subsequent one.

But what is this reality made of, which often found it hard to take note in the muffled houses of Western Europe? Let’s try to understand how the pandemic crisis is being faced.

There are two ways of dealing with the days that pass through us. The first modality starts from the acknowledgement, from the direct vision, immediate of the day by day. It is a form that assumes the level of “concreteness”, of instantaneousness as a representation of oneself and one’s actions; through the image of immediate response, the substratum of impotence, of impossible, is veiled with appearance efficiency. The automatic and response Pavlovian to events, attempting to make adherence to the needs of the “here and now” appear like an obligatory response, denies the need for a vision strategic. Analyzes the trends, the numbers of deaths, the infected, the state of first aid or intensive care as a “technical” response (one would say, neutral), entrusted to figures who should guarantee their appearance of neutrality. Claim urgent action here and immediate response there. Very often by giving up on understanding the nature of what is happening. This attitude hides (or implies) the consequent positions taken inspired by the logic of “returning to how we were”, of the logic of “recovery”, of wanting to “restore” what was interrupted with the arrival of the virus, as if that it was a “case” and not a “systemic” response to a man-made artificial system on the system much more complex reality of the life of the planet.

The second way of approaching the crisis tries to search for the roots of this pandemic in the vertical breakdown of the existing economic and social structure. The crisis would derive intrinsic from the structure of our living and consuming, the way we produce and work, the environmental imbalances produced, the unfair distributions of accumulated wealth, the distorting logic of a development that has come to modify the evolutionary lines of life in the planet intervening on the genetic codes of the living. According to this approach, it does not matter (relatively is understood) how the virus developed and propagated: it was the world of techno-finance, globalization, the breakdown of democratic pacts between institutions and elites, on the one hand, and popular masses, on the other, it is now unable to guarantee the social and vital processes of the planet.

For the second group, the crisis represents the opportunity for a new departure, to all take a different path.

In my life path, I found myself many times to hear (or do it myself) the most well-known metaphor on the concept of complexity, that of the “flapping of the wings of a butterfly …” expressed by Edward Lorenz. In reality (and how it could be otherwise, you say), the history of this metaphor is more … complex. The image of the “butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil to provoke a tornado in Texas” emerged only later, after the scientist had developed (and perhaps inspired by this …) the perhaps most important graphic of the complex sciences and which bears his name: the strange Attractor, precisely called “Lorenz”. Lorenz, in fact, already in 1963 in an essay written for the Academy of Sciences of New York, citing a meteorologist who remained unknown, stated that, if the paradigm of the chaos theory had been right, “the flapping of the wings of a seagull would be it was enough to alter the course of the climate forever ”.

An “attractor” is a whole, a logic, a model, a point of tension, a place of a fractal nature, towards which evolves dynamic system after a sufficiently long time. The arrival of complexity put an end to linear dynamics, to the concept of “predictability of complex systems”, those systems characterized by the presence of a sufficiently large number of independent factors which, put in relation, develop spontaneous self-organization that does not respond directly, to the rules of none of its components. The relationship, we could say paraphrasing an Italian political thinker, studied more abroad than in our country like Antonio Gramsci, develops based on the “hegemonic power” of the qualities of that factor which is within the whole. Exactly, neither by its specific strength, nor by its specific quantity, but by its quality and by the system of its relations with the existing rest. Gramsci, as I have long argued, had anticipated the need, at the political level, for a systemic approach to the social and political dynamics of human societies. It’s highlighting, on the one hand, the centrality of the “generative”, the performative function we would say today, of literature. It should not be forgotten that Gramsci notes that depends on the character of the Italians almost no production of popular novels and that, precisely this condition is a factor impeding the creation of a national dimension similar to that of France or Germany. On the other hand, the communist politician understands that in the era of Fordism it is the very productive logic of the machinic system that generates the man it needs. In this condition, Gramsci understands how the struggle of the popular masses for power can only pass through the conquest of casemates, points of government with low interaction but capable of innervating the complex fabric of contemporary societies with logic and connections. Change, revolution, became with Gramsci an explicitly complex terrain precisely because it rested on the relations and connections of the decentralized and free to move but politically converging points of direction.

The idea of a phenomenon micro seemingly insignificant capable of determining phenomena macro is probably the only socially available teaching of the new knowledge paradigm represented by the theory of complexity. “available” teaching (everyone has heard of it), but not really “digested”. As Giorgio Gaber (Italian playwright, poet, singer) suggested in the verses of one of his songs: “An idea, a concept, an idea, As long as an idea remains, it is only an abstraction. If I could eat an idea I would have made my revolution“(Gaber, 1972).

It is the growing distance between the acquisitions of knowledge and the level of their social diffusion one of the main problems that signal the open fault in social bodies. Very high specializations lead on the one hand to express concepts that in social bodies become or assumed indisputable (they said it, scientist, as before it was said “the television said it” and as before it was said the priest said it …) or concepts from refuse in toto (the power says it). On the one hand, the scientist and science, precisely because of the lack of socially diffused critical thinking skills, risk becoming an absolute “creed” (denying their nature), on the one hand, the total dependence in strategic decisions on his assumptions (often for the same reasons) question the authoritativeness and necessity of the dimension of political institutions, highlighting a vertical crisis of the political powers established. 

The result of the acquisitions of the science of the last century, General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Complexity Sciences, just to mention the main ones, are so far away, not only from mass perception and culture (let’s think of school curricula anchored, basically, again to the acquisitions of the positivist nineteenth century) but from the culture of the “ruling classes” (entrepreneurs, politicians, trade unionists…) and the vast majority of intellectuals, which would be enough to do an INVALSI (National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education and Training) test, on these theories and their scope in contemporary societies, to the teaching staff of schools and universities to understand their backwardness and inadequacy. We are not talking about the entire so-called class ruling. We have experienced a “split” between the outcome of the new structures of knowledge and the ruling classes which makes us understand all the impasse we are experiencing.

An example is clear and obvious to everyone. We now take it for granted that the political decision-maker (the one who governs, at least apparently and at least in Western societies) does not have the knowledge and tools to make the necessary decisions. What they persist in calling “politics” can manage (and let’s say it is also legitimate) only everyday life. In the face of the problems that emerge in contemporary societies (and the case of COVID-19 is only the latest example, but we could talk about the climate rupture or pollution or the depletion of resources) politics – the “government of decisions necessary to the community “- it passes from the hand to the” technicians “, that is, to those who, theoretically, should have a” higher “knowledge (even if not legitimated by any” transparent “subject or place), precisely” technical “. The mediated society is “satisfied” with a label (Prof. “So-and-so”, the director “Tom, Dick and Harry”, etc …) without wondering how that person has reached this level, what he has done to reach that role, what are the mechanisms for selecting the personnel called to fill the positions or how the mechanism of the scientific debate on the planet works. If, for example, a large international company is among the advertising investors of a media that, in setting up a container, a debate, choose a professor from a study centre or researcher, financed by the same international advertising advertiser company. The same thing could apply to political forces, cultural and social alignments. Furthermore, the journalistic world ignores or pretends to ignore the mechanisms that lead to certain results in research in laboratories or universities, mechanisms on which debate has never really opened. We rely more and more on “science”, hypothesizing an uncontaminated and neutral territory when in reality it is strongly conditioned and crossed by a struggle for power (of cultural, scientific, social models, etc … up to the attraction of the necessary resources) gigantic and without neighborhood. As is now happening in vaccine research or the cure for Covid-19.

, the famous mechanism of the Impact factor For example, for example, a mechanism unknown to 98% of the population, has existed for years in a huge clash in the world, precisely because the circulation and validation of the hypotheses and theses of research and results depend on a small circle of subjects, all controlled by “a single cultural model and some inspirations on the nature of science” to mortify all the voices that do not “agree” to it.

The paradox is that, to a global system that increases its general complexity, the “official knowledge institutions” respond with a reduction in the approaches, languages, cultures available to the exchange of information, research and knowledge. A reductionism that aims for a hegemonic process, Gramsci would have said.

Yet, even this mechanism so depriving of research languages capable of representing the diversity existing in the scientific world, in the face of the pandemic crisis has exploded in a myriad of contradictory solutions, of palace plots on the circulation of data, of conflicting indications on the interpretation of reality, recipes, explanations, proposals for action, to make the total fragility of the entire system transparent. Needless to name and surname. We have seen them all, entrenched behind the high-sounding titles of their offices, whether public or private, to take a chance to give indications and suggest solutions and wink at gimmicks, always opposed to each other. A babel of cultures, solutions, hypotheses and allusions that have confused even more the citizens of all nations. 

Before a journalist who has explained, before giving the word “this or that”, who is behind that study centre, who finances it, what fallouts are behind their work, where the fruits of their research end up. So, to better understand why a person supports one thesis or the other, beyond his personal beliefs. Someone said that to understand how things are, you have to go behind the flow of money. In the hairpin bends of history like this, it would be so necessary to rebuild a map.

The epistemological rupture of complexity

It was the 1980s when a new scientific paradigm managed to reach a critical mass that allowed it to appear on the scene of the tools of knowledge that the human deposited in his quiver of understanding the world. That instrument of knowledge, the science or theory of complex systems and which will eventually be summarized in the theory of complexity or simply complexity, was not the result of a move by the horse of thought of a single genius, as happened for the Theory of Relativity with Albert Einstein. That new way of interpreting the world, the things, the relationships that connect everything, emerged making its way through a thousand ways of interpreting the world that had been produced in human history with difficulty. The strength of the millennial patterns, which rested on the direct relationship with the limitation of the five senses with which we are endowed, with traditions based on direct mechanisms, for a long time relegated the power of this new method of investigation, or attempt to make phenomena understandable, first in the field of mathematicians, then in the physical-mathematicians, in the world of biology, to arrive at a dimension we could say holistic, only for a few decades. The computing power made available by digital produced a huge boost. We were at the beginning of a new season of “human knowledge”, a season that many in the world underestimated thinking that it concerned only “scientists”.

It was the 1980s when a group of scientists, including several Nobel laureates, such as physicist Murray Gell-Mann, economist Kennet Arrow and cutting-edge researchers including Stuart Kauffman and Chris Langton and others, belonging to different scientific disciplines and humanities, created a nerve centre of research, known as the Santa Fe Institute. Behind them, they had decades of attempts to “go beyond” the hegemonic reading scheme, an attempt put in place in various disciplines and with different results. The result of that interdisciplinary cultural experiment decreed the birth of the science of complexity. Those elaborations helped to systematize the basis for a new epistemological status. The stated goal was the possibility of a unitary understanding of reality, through multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches. One of the most original concepts that emerged from the Santa Fe Thinking Place was that of the “Margin of chaos”, the most vital place of a system, the area with the highest creative potential of a system. The roots of that landing can be found in the works of the physicist-mathematician Henri Poincaré and those of the first half of the twentieth century by mathematicians and physicists such as Hadamard, Lyapunov, Schrödinger, Kolmogorov, Andronov. Decisive impulses for the development of the complex approach were given by the Russian Alexander Bogdanov and then by the cyberneticians Wiener and von Foerster, passing through Warren Weaver, author of the 1948 essay “Science and Complexity“. The advent of computers contributed decisively to research. Digital began to lengthen its shadow (or light?) On the new epistemological paradigm. Just the computing power allowed Edward Lorenz to elaborate the famous “butterfly effect”, experimentally demonstrating that finite variations of a dynamic system were determined to start from infinitesimal variations of the initial conditions. This was, moreover, the development of Poincaré’s idea several decades earlier. Those were the years when the banks had broken. Ilya Prigogine investigated systems far from equilibrium for the first time and by Bertalanffy, Bánáthy, Zwicky and others, transdisciplinary systems were born. At the same time, Kolmogorov and Solomonoff developed the algorithmic complexity and Edgar Morin defined his rationalization system for complex thinking. Between the fifties and the sixties, by PW Anderson, physics freed itself definitively from reductionism. In our country, Marcello Cini in 1976 guided us further in the “putting on the ground” of all the news, of the new acquisitions, with that extraordinary work that was L’Ape and the architect. Scientific paradigms and historical materialism. The book lashed out against both the irrationalist critics of science and the scientists, those who show unlimited trust in the “saving” power of science itself, not to mention the system of rules and interests that govern its development. The Bee and the architect, with explicit reference to the Marxian metaphor contained in the third book of Il Capitale, re-inserted science in the context of social and historical development. A (re) reading of that text, during the debate on Covid-19, would be useful to many politicians and scientists.

Futuro - Scheduling the unpredictable
Scheduling the unpredictable

Even on the left, the dominant ideological form within it rejected this model because not understanding it, it seemed an attack on its structure, thus revealing its betrayal concerning the “scientific” criterion that Marx’s thought attributed to himself same. Instead, to use the most advanced knowledge model of the world available, to revive and strengthen not only the understanding of the world but also the interests of the classes that they wanted to represent and defend, refused to be what they should have been and, slowly slowly, they condemned themselves to the management of the existing and the defence of the interests of other social classes, without even realizing it.

The collapse of credibility of institutions, paradigms, models, which we witness in these days of the first pandemic in the era of globalization, does not only concern economic models, leaderships political, local, national or supranational institutions. It is a babel of analysis, recipes, perspectives that concerns the world of politics, that of social representation, that of science. Weaknesses, the lack of certainties, the inability to have visions to offer, at all levels, in all leaderships, in all areas of human action, emerge as never before. The faults open not only in the economic or political dimension but in the possibility of knowing how to indicate a path within the existing social, economic, institutional and cultural scheme. Not only do the factors present in an environment and its exchanges with other factors change, but at the same time the environment itself. The Transition, this time, occurs with a “phase transition”, the overcoming of the “threshold” of Kauffman, which adds up to the advent of a Black Swan which caused the collapse of the planetary catalyst. An unprecedented situation in the history of the planet, comparable, historically, only to the Universal Flood.

Uncertainty and unpredictability: chaos and the adjacent possible.

In his studies of systemic biophysics, Stuart Kauffman showed that evolution is caused not only by Darwinian selection but also by the self-organization of living systems far from equilibrium and their exploratory exchanges with the environment. Selection, self-organization, in the case of the historical hairpin we are going through, add up to the collapse of environmental systems. The context in which “the experiment of human social history” takes place is irreparably changing also because of the same “work” carried out by human society in its becoming. This picture explodes uncertainty and unpredictability to extreme consequences. 

It would be necessary to understand how the whole co-evolutionary framework of the man-world system is at the centre of a historical passage. We need reasoning that took inspiration from the idea of “Fitness Landscapes to represent how social structures, different from country to country, can interact in their environments and, overall, with the global system of the existing human structure and analyze the solutions, the “Guided systemic breaks”, which are possible to practice to reach a point of social, environmental and therefore economic stability, which is “higher”, that is, more sustainable than the pre-COVID-19 framework. Kauffman shows us how, in complex systems, a sort of recombination mechanism of the data available for uses other than those envisaged and how this mechanism, which he calls “the possible Adjacent”, characterizes all the elements of the biosphere as well as the cognitive processes. it is characterized by events that depend on a context but are also qualitatively different, and can also aggregate for incremental and changes recombinations of existing elements. In one of his examples, Kauffman reminds us that the uses of a screwdriver are indefinite, not infinite, but depend on circumstances. Above all, there is no order a priori or algorithm that allows you to predict them all in advance. Only the evolutionary process pushes incessantly to find new ones.

Based on these ideas, Maturana and Varela advanced the hypothesis that living systems are capable of redefining themselves and repairing themselves continuously to maintain a balance about the environment. A vision that helped define an epistemology of complexity, an interdisciplinary approach in the ways of knowing that has a particular reference in the systems of life, located halfway between “order and disorder”.

It is the assumption of the adjacent possible that seems to emerge a suitable pattern to our epochal crisis. It is in the neighbouring but opportunities different that humanity can experience the ways out of a crisis that could turn into a collapse of civilization if we only proposed “restoration”. The “return to what we were”, even if it represents an “understandable” answer for the mechanisms of social dynamics and the subjective inertia of individuals to remain in their certainties, however, limited they are, would mean to propose the functioning of society on a scheme which has already failed. The trend of società to change too quickly, which has characterized the last 150 years, pushing the community to look to the past for the perception of the loss of both of their identity, and transience of the enormous strength of the ethical and moral rules due to the passage of power of human power and know-how that has broken the form of what is lawful and accepted by the society in which we live.

Towards a new edge of chaos?

The crisis that is opening up in the world does not allow, this time, a “unique” response. In 2008, as in other previous “crises”, the knot was addressed within the scheme. The gigantic injection of liquidity deluded that the body of the economic-social model had recovered. Italy was held up as unable to hook the new development due to the lack of “reforms”. In reality, the whole system was moving, with unconscious movements, under the effect of the electric shock of the liquidity introduced, of the electric discharges that were transmitted from the outside, but the systemic collapse had already taken place. The shrewdest economists have long announced that an immensely bigger crisis than 2008 would open up like a chasm under the feet of a world that seemed to dance on the Titanic deck.

Now governments seem to be retracing the road of 2008: introducing liquidity and hope that the body will recover from collapse. Like a second electric discharge from a gigantic defibrillator. In a few days, the governments of the planet have announced a monetary intervention equal to that provided in the 5 years of the crisis from 2008 to 2013: 13.5 trillion dollars. But without a plan to correct the structure, the machine.

The necessary intervention, however, should bring into play a double quality of intervention, not rain money. On the one hand, money should be used to support existing production forms that are already within a logic of sustainability and environmental compatibility. Productions not in line with these characteristics should not receive support and, progressively, even interventions that discourage their permanence on the market. On the other hand, public money should open the spaces of a new economic form, that linked to the direct production of use-value, opening the era of social and shared production that can free itself from commercial logic and always delimit plus the impacts of the economic crisis which is based on the exchange value.

This is a systemic government hypothesis that aims, on the one hand, to reduce the totalizing hegemony of the system of satisfying needs based on the production of goods and, on the other, to encourage forms of experimentation with alternative models of production. current needs, both the creation of increasingly social and immaterial needs.

Put in the words of complexity, a complex system like humanity had become too “rigid” under the unifying scheme of the capitalist mercantilist model. His “order”, his hegemonic power over everything, had made human society escape from the “edge of chaos”, the place of a systemic balance where diversity supports the possibility of life itself. This “hegemonic” position has consumed, within a few decades, all the resources necessary to sustain one’s own productive and reproductive scheme and produced a structural crisis.

Exactly what has happened and is happening before our eyes.

Precisely for this reason, it is necessary to support, through the logic of the adjacent possible, solutions external to the prevailing systemic functioning mechanisms and “push” the system to find a “vital” position within a margin of chaos.

Now we need to leave for a new journey. The crisis cannot be addressed with the previous schemes and requires a qualitative leap, a discontinuity. We can not only “give resources” to a collapsed system, but hypothesize a new way of organizing the satisfaction of human needs. It should make these requirements compatible with the cycles of life on the Earth and socially compatible. We need to understand why it is produced, what we want to produce and how to do it. It is no longer enough to “defend” a job just because it exists, because that existence does not correspond to a general interest but to a private interest. We must use this step to bring about a real change. Not only because we are on the side of those who suffer, have suffered and will suffer more from the crisis that has come, but because we could still be the bearers of a “new logic” of human doing.

The intervention is required of us is complex: change this it society with the same lever with which we have to save her. Which, moreover, is the only way to save it and not move the crisis a little further, now mitigating its effects and multiplying its impact in a short time. Exactly what the rulers did in 2008.

Now we need to change the register. Not a merely “ideological” choice (which, moreover, would be a choice of a different ideology with which to look at the world and try to direct it to the dominant ideology that became “nature” and that is defended behind a veil of Maja by who is more guaranteed). We need structurally new choices that are the result of a mix of bottom-up experiments and prospective selection skills of political leadership that can indicate an escape from the failed scheme.

The resources that are being made available by governments and institutions should, therefore, be used to reform what can be made compatible, in the old world, with social and environmental life; to experiment with new forms of collective life based on the satisfaction of needs re-organized through the power of shared knowledge; provide the necessary social security intervention when moving from one system to another.

The need that we have is to bring the “life” of the Earth towards a chaos margin that allows to (re) put the evolution cycle resting on the power of co-evolutionary logic.

A long-term bet, the task of an entire era was of which our generation carries the weight of triggering it or not.


  • Bellucci, S. Cini, M., 2009, The specter of capital, Edizioni Code, Turin.
  • Ciccotti G., Cini M., de Maria, M., Jona-Lasinio, G., with the collaboration of Donini, E., 1976, L’Ape e L’architetto. Paradigmi scientifici e materialism storico, Einaudi.
  • Gaber, G., 1972, An Idea, in the album Dialogue between a busy and a do not know, Edizioni Carosello.
  • Hillis, DW, interview published on Wired, 01/1994, available in the magazine’s electronic archive at the URL: http://www.wired.com
  • Kauffman, S., 2000, Investigations, Oxford University Press; trad. en. Evolutionary Explorations, Einaudi, Turin, 2005.
  • Marx, K., 1867, Capital, Third section: The production of absolute surplus-value.
  • Van Vogt, A., The Voyage of the Space Beagle, 1950; trad. it., Cruise in infinity, 1953. Mondadori, Milan.

* Published in the Riflessioni Sistemiche magazine (www.aiems.it) to which thanks go for your kind permission

A new section

Among the many doubts that plague my mind, just like yours these days, I have only one certainty: when we return to everyday life, nothing will be the same as before. We are facing a challenge that is reductive to call it organizational, it is a philosophical challenge, it is the vision of the world that will change and on which we will have to build the new. And if tomorrow... and I stress "if" is a new column (the title is taken from the verses of a song very popular in Italy) that is open to contributions from intellectuals, scientists, artists, from all over Europe. Follow us and send us your impressions which we will publish periodically with the intention of creating an anthology of ideas.

Giampaolo Sodano

Sign up at our free newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest insights.
Leave your email address, select your interests and receive for free on your inbox the first page of Moondo with the most interesting news selected for you.