Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Part II. D. Chiefdoms. Epoch t = 3. The Psychohistorical-Dialectical ‘Meta-Equation’ of Human-Social Formations ‘Meta-Evolution’.








Dear Readers,


The present blog-entry is the sixth in a series of blog-entries presenting a Marxian, psychohistorical-dialectical model of human history, focusing on the "social formation(s)" [cf. Marx] aspects of that history.


Regards,

Miguel












Full Title 

The Psychohistorical-Dialectical Meta-Equation of Human-Social Formations Meta-Evolution’.

Part II. D.  Epoch t = 3:  Chiefdoms ” ‘Socio-OntologyEmergent.



In his book Non-Zero:  The Logic of Human Destiny, Robert Wright has comparatively much of ‘‘‘psychohistorical’’’ relevance to say in describing the «genos» of the generic ‘multi-villagechiefdom stage of human-social formation, some of its «species», and even a few of its individual instances / «monads» --


Three centuries ago, when Europeans in North America encountered the chief of the Natchez Indians, they couldn’t help but notice his high self-esteem.  One Jesuit priest observed that he “knows nothing on earth more dignified than himself.”
  

“And, since the chief knew nothing in the heavens greater than the sun, it seemed only natural to deem himself “brother of the Sun.”  This logic made sense to the sun-worshiping Natchez people, who vied for proximity to the chief's divine aura.  Upon his death, those who had the honor of accompanying him into the afterlife would swallow enough tobacco to lose consciousness and then be ritually strangled.”

From a modern vantage point, it is hard to relate either to the chief or to his followers.  Few politicians today consider themselves gods or demigods — or, at any rate, few would admit it.  And few citizens aspire to spend eternity in the company of politicians.”

“It’s tempting, indeed, to dismiss the Natchez people as a bizarre aberration.  But they were actually pretty typical—typical of human beings living in a particular phase of cultural evolution:  the chiefdom, in which numerous villages are subordinated to firm, centralized political leadership, and that leadership is distinctly institutionalized.”

“So far as we can tell from the archaeological record, all the ancient state-level societies were preceded in cultural evolution by chiefdoms.  So far as we can tell from the ethnographic record, the leaders of chiefdoms have routinely claimed special access to divine force. And, remarkably, their people have typically considered this claim plausible.

“We know from chiefdoms observed over the past few centuries that chiefs go to great lengths to underscore their chiefliness.  Some Polynesian chiefs turned their entire faces into ornate works of art, enduring a painful, tattoo-like engraving process that leaves the skin looking like the leather on a fancy cowboy boot.  Other chiefs have force-fed their wives into obesity, creating vivid testament to their affluence.  Unfortunately for archaeologists, fat cells and engraved skin don't fossilize well.  But other common forms of chiefly self-advertisement are more enduring, such as monumental architecture, often built in tribute to (and as a reminder of) the chiefs distinguished lineage.”

“Hence the huge mounds built in North America as tombs for past chiefs.  Or the pyramid-like temples on Tahiti, or the earliest ziggurats in Mesopotamia.  The giant stone heads on Easter Island, up to ten meters tall, also suggest social organization beyond the Big Man level.  Using these and other hallmarks of a chiefdom, archaeologists have found a clear pattern:  After agriculture first spreads across a region, chiefdoms tend to follow.”

“This doesn't mean that farming is a prerequisite for a chiefdom.  Natural abundance, and attendant population density, will occasionally do the trick.  As we’ve seen, the Northwest Indians were on the verge of chiefdomhood.  And the Calusa of Florida, also coastal hunter-gatherers, were a full-fledged chiefdom, whose leader dispatched an armada of eighty canoes (not enough) to battle Ponce de Leon.”

“Nor, on the other hand, are we saying that chiefdoms inevitably follow fast on the domestication of plants and animals. In the jungles of Amazonia or New Guinea, farming doesn’t become very productive very fast.  But given a friendly environment and a millennium or two, widespread agriculture does seem to propel social organization into the age of chiefdoms.”


“Thus, farming and cattle ranching come to England around 4000 B.C.[E], and within a thousand years “megaliths” — orderly arrangements of boulders, as at Stonehenge — start appearing.  The same pattern — first farming, then chiefdoms — is found earlier in continental Europe. (Julius Caesar would happen upon chiefdoms when he ventured into Germany and Gaul.)”

“In Mesoamerica—Central America and the south of modern Mexico—farming villages were common by 2,000 B.C., and within a thousand years, immense stone heads, in the Easter Island genre, had been carved.  And so on.  Chiefdoms, the scholar Randolph Widmer has written, “were at various times the most common form of society found throughout Europe, Africa, the Americas, Melanesia, Polynesia, the Near East, and Asia.”  Around the world, with the multiple invention and rapid spread of agriculture, cultural evolution marched on.  Chiefdoms sustained the basic trend toward larger and more complex social organization.”

. . .

“... other hallmarks of chiefdoms:  ... a large village (home of the paramount chief) among smaller ones; large, central food storehouses; diverse technology; sheer population size, along with signs of sharp status differences.  Especially suggestive -- since status is typically hereditary in chiefdoms -- is the lavish burial of an infant [M.D.:  burials of deceased children of the chief]: graves with alabaster statues and copper ornaments, as in the Middle East, or, in Mesoamerica, basalt-column tombs loaded with jades. ... .” 
 

[ Robert Wright, Non-ZeroThe Logic of Human Destiny, Pantheon Books [NY:  2000], pp. 78-80; 365n, text-color emphases added by M.D.; Violet text-color marks passages narrating signs of the growth of the social forces of production.  See http://nonzero.org/toc.htm ].



In terms of historical ‘‘‘Real time’’’, the Whole-Number model-epochs duration from t = 3 to t = 4, during which the highest forms of human social formation all extant together are believed to have been the ~ single-familybands, the ‘multi-bandcamps, the ‘multi-camp’ “villages, and the ‘multi-villagechiefdoms, lasted from circa 5,500 B.C.E., to the emergence of the first ‘multi-chiefdomcity-states[e.g., Sumerian], circa 3,100 B.C.E. -- a duration of ~ 2,400 Earth-years.


We can summarize the progress of human-social formation to this point in our 'meta-model narrative' as follows, in terms of the epochs of 'self-hybridization' [only] of social formation units --






Suppose, as the next, consecutive emergence in this Qualo-Peanic self-«aufheben» succession / consecuum-cumulum of human-social emergences, that the ‘‘‘population’’’ of the “villages” «arithmos» — the ‘‘‘population’’’ of which each individualvillage is a unit / «monad» — reproduces itself with expansion, grows, at least in certain localities of the planetary biosphere / emergent noosphere” [cf. Vernadsky; Chardin].

Then, as the monadic population -- as the «arithmos», or ‘‘‘number’’’ -- of the “villages-as-«monads» grows and ‘densifies’ itself in those localities, a condition of ‘‘‘critically’’’ high “villages density may arise, which we term the self-envelopment, or the self-surroundment of the “village «monads», the self-environment of the “villages, or the envelopment- / surroundment- / environment-by-likes, created, for the “villages” «arithmos», by the “villages” «arithmos».


This new condition would arise, first and especially, within the ‘centerward’, or the ‘coreward’ sub-population of “village «monads», of each of the key / core such localities, also termed the ‘meta-meristemal’ / ‘‘‘vanguard’’’ social-relations-of-production innovation ‘‘‘nucleation zones’’’.
 

This thus means that there has arisen a new condition of “villages densely surrounded by [other] “villages at the heart of each such locality, a condition expressed, in the F.E.D. “First Psychohistorical Algebra”, via a multiplication analogy:  villages2  =  villages  x  villages.

This condition would have thereby supplanted, in intensity / ‘intensivity’, within these key / core loci, the ‘precedingly-dominant’ condition of the ‘surroundment’ of the “village «monads» by their immediate-predecessor, ‘inverse-consecutive’ «monads», namely, by the «monads» of the «arithmos» of “camps”, some of whose “camps «monads» these “camps-surrounded “villages would have been converting into additional parts of themselves, or into new “villages, as part of the process of the expanded self-reproduction / ‘reproductive accumulation’ of “villages.


Yet a new innovation in the human-social settlement / governance patterns’ ‘‘‘taxonomy’’’, or ‘‘‘systematics’’’, of  ‘socio-ontology’ is thereby seeded.


The former condition was dominated by and characterized by merely-hybridizing’ reactions / inter-actions, by ‘socio-ontological conversion’, via hetero-actions’, of “village «monads» with / upon some of the immediate predecessor, “camp «monads», and with / upon some of [any] still-persisting earlier-predecessor «monads» — i.e., with still-‘uncamped’ “band «monads» — as yet unassimilated into any higher ‘‘‘degree’’’ of ‘socio-ontological self-involution’ / ‘self-internalization’ / ‘self-complexification’.

The new condition — in the ‘socio-ontological innovation nucleation zones’ — is dominated by and characterized by ‘self-hybridizing’ interactions, ‘self-interactions’, or ‘intra-actions’, within the "population" of “village «monads» -- inter-actions of “village «monads» with [other] “village «monads», which become more and more frequent / increasingly ‘self-frequentized’, as the ‘‘‘population density’’’ of “village «monads» grows therein, as a reflection of the growth of the social forces of production in that locale.

The formerly-dominant modes of monadic interaction — of ‘socio-ontological other-conversion’, or hetero-conversion’ — had partially converted the still-extant camp ‘socio-ontology’ / human ‘socio-mass’, into “village ‘socio-ontology’ / human ‘socio-mass’, as well as converting part of any still-extant “band ‘socio-ontology’ / human ‘socio-mass’ also into “village ‘socio-ontology’ /- human ‘socio-mass’ [ ‘human socio-mass’ means the sum of the mass of living human bodies plus the mass of in-use humans-made artifacts / products / goods / commodities / physical plant / capital-plant and equipment / fixed capital / social infrastructure, extant at the same time ].


This process of ‘socio-ontological hetero-conversion’ of [part of] the remaining «monads» of the precedingly-self-manifested «arithmoi» — of the “camps” «arithmos», and of the “bands” «arithmos» — is ‘auto-catalyzed’ by, and ‘[ac]celerates’' itself, in proportion to the presence of, and to the density of / ‘physical-spatial concentration’ of, the therefore [‘‘‘self-]expanding’’’ local “villages” «arithmos».

However, as the — therefore and thereby growing — ‘physical-spatial concentration’ of the «monads» of the “villages” «arithmos», in the key / core ‘‘‘nucleation zones’’’, crosses a “critical mass” / ‘‘‘critical density’’’ threshold, the process of the ‘ontological hetero-conversion / assimilation’, of earlier-manifested monadic sub-populations, into the growing “villagesmonadic population, shifts.

It shifts into a new and, ‘socio-ontologically’, previously unprecedented process, of the nascent ‘ontological self-conversion’ of [part of] the burgeoning “villages” «arithmos» ‘socio-ontology’, by that very burgeoning “villages” «arithmos» ‘socio-ontology’, into yet a different, describable as ‘self-hybrid’, ‘socio-ontology’:  its self-conversion’ into the human ‘socio-ontology’ of a new, ‘self-involutively higher’, previously-nonexistent, previously unexampled ‘‘‘socio-onto-logical type’’’, a new qualitative increment [ denoted by Dv ] of ‘socio-ontological’ innovation in the history of human-social formation(s).


That is, the ‘self-frequentization’ of this new mode of action — of ‘‘‘self-inter-action’’’, or of ‘‘‘intra-action’’’ — ofvillageswithvillages” -- v x v -- then, as it exceeds its critical frequency / density threshold, precipitates the irruption of yet a new, previously unknown, previously unheard-of, previously non-extant, previously non-existent qualo-fractal scale / level / layer of human settlement / governance patterns and practices, namely, that of the — multi-village” — chiefdom, or tribal, human-social formation(s).


A chiefdom, grasped as a human-social formations unit / «monad», is a ‘meta1-«monad»’, ‘meta1- unit, or ‘super1- unit, relative to a “villageunit, grasped also as such a human-social formations unit / «monad»; is a ‘meta2-«monad»’, relative to a “camp, grasped also as such a human-social formations unit / «monad», and is a ‘meta3-«monad»’, relative to a forager band, grasped also as such a human-social formations unit / «monad» -- 

chiefdoms  =  ‘meta3-bands’  =  ‘meta1-meta1-meta1-bands’  =
 
meta1-meta1-camps’  =  ‘meta1-villages’.




Each typical chiefdom is a meta-village”, made up out of a [local-][sub-]«arithmos» of “villages”, i.e., made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of “village” «monads», by means of their coalescence into a new level of ‘internity / externity’, i.e., by means of a dialectical,  self-«aufheben» self-internalization of that local, predecessor «arithmos» of “villages” as predecessor manifold of «monads».

This self-«aufheben» self-operation  — of an «arithmos» of “village” «monads», as collective / holistic human-social ‘‘‘subject’’’ / agent of [self-]action, acting upon / operating upon / operating within itself, via its “village” «monads» operating among themselves — gives rise to a socio-ontologically, qualitatively, behaviorally new and different, previously unprecedented «arithmos», one that has individual chiefdoms” as its «monads»:  the «arithmos» of the — multi-village”, ‘meta-village — “chiefdoms”.


The subject / verb / object identical of “villagessquared, “villagesxvillages” --

or ‘villages< villages >’ [“villagesofvillages”]

-- i.e., the self-reflexive functioning of “villages” acting upon [other] “villages” -- still possibly reproduces the “villages” «arithmos»-of-village-«monads», but also possibly produces something new and unprecedented:  chiefdoms”; the “chiefdoms” «arithmos»-of-chiefdom-«monads».




Formulaic Summary for ChiefdomsEmergent.  ‘Ideographized’ / ‘ideogramized’, “shorthand” summary of the narrative rendered above [in the following formula, f denotes the human social formations ‘socio-ontological category’ of the “chiefdoms” «arithmos»] --

Epoch t = 3:  m>-|-<3    =    < b >23    =   < b >8    =   


< b + c   + qcb + v >2


-- so --  


< b + c   + qcb + v > 

< b + c   + qcb + v >< < b + c   + qcb + v > >   =

< b + c   + qcb + v >2   =

< b + c   + qcb + v > + D< b + c   + qcb + v >  =

< b + c   + qcb + v + qvb + qvc + qvcb + f >



-- as --


t = 2 t = 3


-- or --


-- [partly] pictographically --


-- including the now four 'merely-hybrid socio-ontological categories' that have emerged to help describe the progress of human-social formation to this point in our 'meta-model narrative', we can describe 'meta-model epoch' 3 as follows --























NEXT --
  


Psychohistorical-Dialectical Meta-Equation of Human-Social Formations Meta-Evolution’.

  
Part II. EEpoch t = 4.  city-states.










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