A Little History of Human Organisation

We begin another new year seeking better health or jobs or greener lives! What can a brief trawl through human history give us towards becoming our best? What might we still want to hang onto from 200,000 years of learning how to live?

That we are not asking a modest question is confirmed by “A Little History of the World” by Ernst Gombrich (published 1936). Imagine… having no internet, no phone, no TV, newspaper or post, just rumours. You hunt or till the land and try to scare off your neighbours. Since then we have been constantly re-organising ourselves with wars, armies, conquerors, slavery, the Greeks, monastries, revolutions. Each represents a different way to work together.

Helpfully others (eg. Alvin Toffler, Robin Wood) have boiled this unwieldy heap of experiences down to three big waves each with new ways to organise.

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Having examined this evidence we can take a creative leap to say: let’s hold onto a way of leading that can engage across factions and generations, including young people who do not vote, towards rebuilding confidence and trust, so enabling our old institutions to innovate and serve us well.

You can take away a thought experiment: how might our lives be improved if we all lived by these assumptions:

  • The World Wide Web has always existed

  • We can message and invite anyone across the globe to anything

  • Individualism and nationalism are so dead in the water: every person is part of one world

  • If we share differently we can make more of our world’s resources

  • I can make a difference by being loyal to those who contribute to tackling the most difficult challenges we share (such as climate change, unemployment, conflict etc)?