Individual Based Cognitive Landscape and the Societal Based Landscape The Human Case

Every human lives in a personal landscape, just like plants, animals, and microbes. But humans have more cognitive capacities, a semiotic niche (sensu Hoffmeyer 2008) dramatically expanded by technological tools. Individual style is a clear manifestation of our capacity to diversify thousands of eco-fields even expanding this concept to the mental processes. Language and culture contribute to expansion and diversification of our semiotic niche.

Visiting an Italian friend's house, we observe a different style of furniture, and, in the kitchen, a different use of food. Opening a conversation on football or on policy, we discover further differences, but when we meet this friend abroad, maybe in Japan, immediately we can find a lot of similarities. We are both "western inhabitants!"

Considering our social aptitude for creating families, groups, societies, and states, we need to understand if the eco-field paradigm can also be used outside the individual. It seems reasonable to believe that we are at the same time individual, clan, group, nation, but for each of these statuses our behavior changes and, consequently, our perception of the surrounding changes as well. Sharing societal characteristics with other persons, we share also a common vision and, consequently, similar or identical eco-fields. In policy, people that take part in a political party have a common vision of the future, and as a result the policy eco-field is similar. We can have different living styles, but when we share the same fanaticism for the same team, we produce the same interference in a specific eco-field.

The human landscapes that we call cultural landscapes are created in a similar way. Considered in a broad sense, people living in a community share a common culture more strongly than we believe. The cultural landscape is an example of societal-based landscape (SBL). It is a landscape created by social mechanisms (by fixed rules) that in turn has been created by a long history of individual interactions shared inside human communities. The cultural landscape differs from the present-time landscape that is produced mainly by economic constraints with little social feedback.

Coming back to the eco-field theory, it is reasonable to imagine that when we feel we are part of an organized entity, our choices are on a cultural basis. We lose our individuality, and we are part of an aggregation. In this way, we perform the processes according to a code processed by an aggregate entity (the society). This procedure is exactly the opposite of the individual-based model. In the latter case, we try to differentiate ourselves to the maximum degree, but in the first case, we try to receive some advantages and to be similar to the other members of the aggregate. In an aggregated entity, our obedience is absolute, and we share common values. We have created many laws to control this type of obedience to the social rules. As a result of this behavior in a SBL we assist in the production of models that are repeated in space and time.

The rules that in the IBCL are the product of sequence and quality (availability of resources), in a SBL are not linked simply to resources and stochastic and genetically influenced processes. Such rules are instead linked to a common vision, like a societal plan that changes at a time scale longer than in IBCL, in which the survivability of the community depends on individual fitness.

The SBL differs from the IBCL by the fact that the SBL is perceived more or less at the same time by groups of persons thanks to the action of a common cultural filter. A SBL has common observed properties that can be understood by the groups without further explanation. Learning rules inside a SBL is a matter of social communication, education, and cultural cohesion.

The IBCL needs to be explained to be understood, and for this reason language is an indispensable tool. Without a language it is not possible to share the IBCL. This is not so important for SBL, at least inside a group. But when we move up and we compare two different SBL, the language that must be used is the language of the policy which is a mix of self-explanation, imposition, and distinctiveness. The SBL produces a geographical entity that we call the "region." The aggregation of different regions produces a country. The region is the most distinct entity that persists for a longer time than a country, at least in the European context. The same political geography of Europe from the Roman Empire's decline to the present time is an extraordinary example of "Inter-regional manipulation."

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