Technology Imitates Nature.
It is almost common knowledge in philosophy that Aristotle was first to formulate the notion that technology imitates nature.(2) As it relates to the nature of technology and governance, the two are very similar because they both derive from the marketplace of human ideas. These ideas are born by human creativity and imagination working amongst many places across the globe including within academia, government, businesses, and simply at ones own home on ones own accord simply because people can and it is there. Perhaps that is because what makes humans, who are inherently political beings, different than machines is that humans have an imagination.(3)
Since the beginning of human existence, humans have derived numerous technologies to enhance their interactions with the world around themselves. This includes the creation of language, paper, the printing press, gunpowder, vaccines, religion, the telegraph, telephone, computer, Internet, mathematics, physics, mobile smart phones, artificial intelligence systems, and intelligence gathering mechanisms. This is simply a small, yet emblematic list of a few monumental creations born from human creativity.
In addition, simultaneously humans have also created political governance structures to achieve the same goals as their technological creations, to enhance their interactions with the world around them. This includes the creation of governance power structures such as a Confederation, Federalism, Hegemony, Imperialism, and Unitary States to name but just a few. These governance structures, much like new technologies, also require sources of power in order to operate. The sources of power for governance structures are generally understood as Democracy, Monarchy, Oligarchy, Authoritarian, Republic, Theocracy, and Marxism-Leninism just to name a few.
What is most intriguing about the nature of governance structures is that there is quite often a difference between the tacit data and the explicit data. What I mean in saying this is that just because a power system looks on the surface like it operates one way, doesn’t necessarily mean underneath the belly of the political beast that is does not operate in a completely different way. Understanding the distinction between how something is designed to work versus understanding empirically how it actually works is paramount to understanding the true source of its power.
Lets now explore how Brian Arthur, arguably one of the most respected thinkers on understanding the nature of technology, thinks about the developmental process of human ideas.