The Wheels of Society
Tony Wilson (Author)
DescriptionWritten with verve and a mordant wit, 'The Wheels of Society' is a vivid, cogent, ground-breaking proposal for us to re-think ourselves in order to steer civilisation back to safety. As a species we seem to cling on to the power and influence of 'the old normal'. Forests and valleys are decimated so that businessmen can be in Manchester 30 minutes faster; thousands of airline seats are sold for the price of a free-range chicken so that hundreds of short-haul planes can devastate the atmosphere and enable drunken escapades in Barcelona rather than Soho; the rich get even richer and the poor get Covid 19. Bankers conspire in the fraudulent abuse of people's savings, yet can keep their loot, saved by governments supposed to protect their citizens but who fail to hold a single perpetrator to account. Is this how we are supposed to be? The biology of society becomes visible when hubris is side-stepped. First, natural selfishness must be overcome before individuals can assemble altruistically into a working group - a rather wonderful achievement. Our cooperating groups, which make up the hierarchy of society, are living things in their own right. Then, once assembled, the group must perform trial-and-error cycles to do life's vital functions. Wilson's 'assembly-and-performance thinking' combines these two mechanisms into a simple scientific theory of society which applies, with variations, to all cooperating creatures - not just to humans.
4 February 2021
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