Humans and social groupings must fulfil a number of basic requirements to ensure their survival. In order to fulfil basic requirements humans and social groupings must compete for scarce resources.
During the period 1495-1945, Europe constituted the (International) System and interactions between humans and social groupings in the System produced a highly optimised self-organised finite-time singularity dynamic that was accompanied by four accelerating war cycles.
The System constituted a self-regulating system: Population growth and rivalries between social groupings produced tensions that were periodically used, to re-order the System to better fulfil the basic requirements of its growing populations, which in turn allowed for further (population) growth.
The growing populations and increasing rivalries between increasingly large groupings (ultimately states) resulted into the production and build-up of increasing amounts of tensions, that could then at a certain point (a critical point) again be used for another upgrade of the order of the System. This cycle was repeated four times.
During the period 1495-1945, Europe (the System) developed from a collection of circa 300 diverse and loosely connected ‘units’ with a total population of about 83 million in 1495, into a coherent and tightly connected anarchistic system consisting of 25 standardised states with a total population of about 544 million, in 1939. This was – as I explained – accomplished with the ‘help’ of the finite-time singularity dynamic that was accompanied by four accelerating war cycles.
Each cycle the System produced consisted of a relatively stable period (when an international order regulated interactions between states), followed by a critical period. During relatively stable periods, the System produced non-systemic wars to ‘balance’ the existing international orders (that were in place). However, it was only a matter of time before the international order became obsolete, and tensions accumulated in the System. At a certain point the System became critical as a consequence, produced a systemic war, and the accumulated tensions were then used to design and implement an upgraded international order.
The System periodically self-organised toward a critical condition – implying systemic war – when accumulated tensions (that could not be released as a consequence of a connectivity effect) were used to design and implement the upgraded orders, that allowed for a lower energy state of the System.
The statistical properties of the war dynamics (and several other indicators) point to the periodic critical behaviour of the System. Criticality enables system-wide communication and coordination (when critical, the correlation length of a system is one), which is a precondition for the System to be able to design and implement a system-wide upgraded order: The whole System (all great Powers in the System) should be involved to implement a system-wide upgrade order.
When in 1939 the System – that is Europe at that stage – reached the critical connectivity threshold, the System produced infinite (and for that reason unsustainable and self-destructive) amounts of tensions: At that point the System adjusted its fundamental grouping by introducing a next hierarchical level (as defined by Simon).
Through this next organisational level, the tension producing interactions (between states) were neutralised. The fourth systemic war (the Second World War, 1939-1945) was instrumental in the implementation of this next (non-anarchistic) hierarchical level, and in fact constituted a phase transition. This next level (hierarchy) constituted the fundament for the European Union.
The research shows that the System – consistent with ‘energy laws’ that also apply to physical systems – continuously ‘searches’ for a configuration (international order) that ensures that the build-up of tensions during relatively stable periods is minimised, and the release of tensions (especially) during systemic wars (critical periods) is optimised to upgrade the (by then) dysfunctional order.
I argue that the ability (performance) of the System to reorder itself (to upgrade its order), and achieve a lower energy-state, is optimised during critical periods.