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Integration and freedom

We are living at a time when we can see the basic contradiction of the constructive evolution of mankind very clearly: it is the contradiction between human integration and human freedom. Integration is an evolutionary necessity. If humanity sets itself goals which are incompatible with integration the result will be an evolutionary dead end: further creative development will become impossible. Then we shall not survive. In the evolving Universe there is no standstill: all that does not develop perishes. On the other hand, freedom is precious for the human being; it is the essence of life. The creative freedom of individuals is the fundamental engine of evolution in the era of Reason. If it is suppressed by integration, as in totalitarianism, we shall find ourselves again in an evolutionary dead end. This contradiction is real, but not insoluble. After all, the same contradiction has been successfully solved on other levels of organization in the process of evolution. When cells integrate into multicellular organisms, they continue to perform their biological functions--metabolism and fission. The new quality, the life of the organism, does not appear despite the biological functions of the individual cells but because of them and through them. The creative act of free will is the ``biological function'' of the human being. In an integrated super-being it must be preserved as an inviolable foundation, and the new qualities must appear through it and because of it. Thus the fundamental challenge that the humanity faces now is to achieve an organic synthesis of integration and freedom.

Copyright© 1993 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

C. Joslyn, V. Turchin,

Aug 1993


Metasystem Transition Theory


Conflicts between levels

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