Patterns in war dynamics, Part IV. Building blocks for a new theory (1): Basic requirements

As mentioned in Part III, the research suggests that the System started producing a finite-time singularity in 1495, which was accompanied by four accelerating war cycles. The accelerating singularity dynamic eventually caused the collapse of the System’s core in 1939 and triggered a phase transition to non-anarchistic structures in Europe. At the same time, as non-anarchistic structures were imposed in Europe, a first global international order was implemented on the global scale of the System. The phase transition marks the merging of the core and non-core of the System, which became increasingly linked during the unfolding of the singularity dynamic.

This perspective raises numerous questions and clues for further research. In this section, I elaborate somewhat on several observations that I have made.

(1) Population growth and the need to fulfill basic requirements are the underlying drivers of the System’s war dynamics and process of social integration and expansion. To survive, humans must fulfill a set of basic requirements, including food supply and security. Cooperation contributes to humans’ ability to fulfill their basic requirements, increase their wellbeing, and survive. The urge to survive consequently set in motion a process of social integration and expansion. This process started with the ‘grouping’ of humans in extended families and tribes.

In 1495, ‘Europe’, which would become the core of an expanding system, started producing system behavior that resulted in a self-organized finite-time singularity dynamic that was accompanied by four accelerating war cycles (1495-1945). The war dynamics contributed to the ‘crystallization’ of approximately 300 loosely connected and diverse ‘units’, with a total population of approximately 83 million in 1495, into a coherent anarchistic system of approximately 25 highly connected sovereign states, with a total population of approximately 544 million in 1939.

I argue that the finite-time singularity dynamic was powered by the increasing amount of tension produced by the System, which can be considered ‘energy’ that was put to use during systemic wars and to implement ‘upgraded’ orders; this allowed for a lower energy-state – tension level – of the System and new periods of relative stability. The total severities and severity per year of successive cycles, which I consider to be indicative of the tensions in the System and their production rate, are consistent with these assumptions/observations.

The tensions were a product of the interactions between the security dilemma, population (growth) and the need to fulfill basic requirements, and the crystallization of the System’s core in 25 states, which constantly intensified their rivalries and produced a self-reinforcing (positive feedback) mechanism that increasingly dominated the feedback structure of the System.

I assume that the connectivity of populations and ‘units’ they were grouped in, in addition to their security, were intrinsically incompatible in the anarchistic System, despite the advantages these connections also offered. I assume that connectivity of the System’s core was (and still is) a function of its population size and that a relationship exists between (increasing) connectivity and (increasing) pace of life, including the increasing speed of information and tensions. This also seems to be the case in city systems.

The core of the System reached the singularity in finite time in 1939, which can be considered the moment when the System’s core reached the critical connectivity threshold, when it produced an infinite amount of tension at an infinite rate because of the intrinsic incompatibility between connectivity and security in anarchistic systems.

As explained above, at that point the robustness, fragility, and organizational and structural stability of the System’s core had become ‘infinite’, and tensions could no longer be absorbed or regulated. The System’s core had consequently become highly unstable, as the ‘infinite’ frequency and amplitudes of cycles indicate. The anarchistic core of the System had reached the singularity in finite-time (i.e., the critical connectivity threshold) and therefore collapsed. In response, the core (Europe) produced a phase-transition toward non-anarchistic structures. Only non-anarchistic structures could (and can) solve the intrinsic incompatibility between connectivity and security that is inherent in anarchistic systems and results in tension production. Through the ‘lynchpin role’ fulfilled by the United States and the Soviet Union, by controlling Western and Eastern Europe, respectively, and by acquiring the most dominant positions on the global scale of the System – Europe could be ‘anchored’ in the first global order, and the erstwhile core and non-core of the System could merge.