"There will always be a difference between the subjugation of a mass of people
and the ruling of a society."
J. J. Rousseau, The Social Contract
"May I begin with a political confession? It is: the state is for the people,
not the people for the state."
A. Einstein, The World As I See It
Is the evolution of human society heading up a blind alley? Are we in a position at all to exert an influence on its evolution, or are the individuals of any society at someone else's mercy - tightly bound to a superordinate system? Is it possible to free the human society from the quarrel between groups and persons greedy for power, or will we be helplessly at loss with regard to societal processes in the future as well? Is it possible for social structures, geared to the needs and wants of individuals in their organization, to stably exist at all? Are systems dominated by a clique in a centralistic way superior to democratic ones, or can we rightly hope for a truly humane society?
The significance of these questions should be beyond dispute. It should also be clear to the critical and impartial observer that, in the current situation, no satisfactory answers can be given to societal issues. Yes, there is an overabundance of opinions and theories, but these are not yet suitable to master the problems of society in the future. With respect to this issue, I personally deem it necessary to arrive at completely new rational approaches so that a scientific pervasion of the field will one day result in a true liberation of man.
Research work undertaken in this field would have to be free from vested interests of external powers and financial control. Likewise, prejudices, privileges and, most notably, ideological vision aids are dangerous, to say the least. The only way to resolve the confusion currently existing is to approach these problems - soon to become existential - in a strictly impartial way. Therefore, every attempt to comprehend societal events and procedures is significant. We have to be capable of recognizing and consciously reducing our own prejudices, and it is not until then that we are in a position to objectively evaluate societal events and procedures.
We urgently need new approaches for a societal theory on a truly scientific basis. In this sense, I am referring to cybernetics, behavior research and evolutionary biological theory, not some far-fetched theory with so-called "evidences" that turn out to either be incomprehensible or irreproducible. In this respect, only a truly scientific basis is the guarantor of success at all. In my view, a realistic and lifelike starting point would seem to be the exchange of information between more highly organized systems which are processing information. An extension and generalization of the currently existing concept of information would be welcome.
Thus, we are in urgent need for an evolutionary theory of large cybernetic systems which is the only way to establish and offer a scientific basis for social sciences. This calls for an accelerative push when researching flows of information within society and/or between society and the environment.
I maintain that it will be possible one day to examine, comprehend and control societal events and procedures with scientific methods! What is needed for this purpose is, first of all, an analysis of existing and past conditions. Nothing can be changed with blind actionism if we don't possess detailed knowledge of the field at hand. In the same manner, experiments with millions of people are to be prohibited. Therefore, prior to the synthesis of a useful overall system it is imperative to at least engage in the analysis of its functions as well as the analysis of several ways and means of realization!
We will have to part forever with the idea of a flawless evolution or a faultless society. Society will have to learn to live with mistakes! We will never be able to rule out possibilities of errors and defects. Therefore it is also correct to create "reserves" or "emergency brakes" within society to counteract and disarm adverse trends and their effects in due time. Even the mysterious and wonderful evolutionary machinery of nature is not free from mistakes. In fact, those defects do serve as a crucial impulse for evolution.
In my view, an analysis of the evolutionary history of animated nature, from the perspective of the flow of information, could lead to new conceptual approaches. Furthermore, such an examination should be able to contribute to a vitalization of the concept of information. I hope that you, my dear reader, will try to study this treatise from a neutral, unbiased point of view and thus be able to recognize both its virtues and shortcomings. The mere endeavor of each single individual to objectively assess the societal situation is necessary and in itself a big step towards a peaceful and humane future of mankind.