Social Complexity

Response to Miranda Tran
June 24, 2020
Fast Fashion Discussion Questions
June 24, 2020

Social Complexity

Social Complexity

Social complexity refers to the study of the existence of humans. The term social complex system originates from the phrase complex system which relates to a system whose characteristics is hard to predict by inspecting the system. Therefore, a social complex system is defined as a complex system whose features are determined by the actions of social agents. The systems are composed of various entities which interdepend on each other and that as whole bear properties and behaviors and which do not automatically come as a result of the combination of the features of the individual parts. The concept of social complexity among lining organisms is a broad issue with many theories but most of which are yet to be proven. 

Human beings are among the most complex systems socially. Right from evolution to nations, they exhibit almost similar characteristics but which cannot be used to explain their features or originality. The premises of a complex human society include behavior and structure. Humans are active agents who have goals like survival and improvement. All human beings globally handle challenges in their daily lives to survive. Conversely, the purpose of all human beings worldwide is to improve the quality of their lives or that of their loved ones. To achieve the goals, humans adapt to the environment to overcome the challenges by planning and constructing tools which assist them in meeting their needs. Structurally, humans have rulers who have the authority to govern and policies from which the rulers obtain guidance. The combination comprises a state with people belonging to different ranks.  As a result, members fall into different categories like elite members, military, civil servants and the commoners who comprise a society.  The trend follows globally despite the different regions occupied by different people.

The hunter-gatherer social networks comprise the best example of a socially complex structure. The societies survive within complex ecosystems where they harvest resources to satisfy both their metabolic and material needs. They adjust their group sizes and organizations periodically depending on the available space and the resources distribution.   The societies that practice hunting and gathering globally exhibit very similar hierarchical organization. The societies form into hierarchical self-similar connections of predictable team sizes that scale at equal rates across all successive levels. Studies indicate that the communities are not only internally self-similar but also that the similarity follows across societies which differ historically, ecologically and genetically. Experts attribute the scaling relation of hunters and gatherers to the complex structure of the underlying social networks which help to balance significant resources such as information, energy, and materials to members of a team.

Another example is the social complexity of ant colonies. Ants are known to be the most abundant and successful organisms living. They live in complex societies; they construct their homes systematically and have many characteristics that are similar to the living style of humans. One primary characteristic of ants is the division of labor which is the basis of the species’ success. Research shows that during the evolution of ants, expansion in the sizes of different colonies enhanced the complexity of their act of division of labor. Among the ants, only the queen or a few queens are tasked with the responsibility of reproduction. Other members perform other duties such as defense, construction of the nests and foraging. Even though the working group does not pass on their genes, the siblings manage to acquire the same traits by interacting with the working group as they participate in ensuring the survival of the siblings.   

Archaeologists endeavor to know the basis of the different complex system across living organisms including humans. The concept of social complexity becomes one of the most explored ideas with experts formulating different theories all of which lead to more insoluble arguments. Evidently, nature has its way of connecting species and balancing resources amongst different members belonging to different species.

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