In this series of five posts, I explain the workings and implications of dissipative structures that regulate kinetic activity (wars) in our System. The series consists of five parts and is based on my latest research On the Thermodynamics of war and Social Evolution.

Recently, I have finished further research concerning war dynamics and development of the (international) System.

In this research, the System consists of interacting communities and societies, and of interactions of communities and societies with the environment(s) on which they depend. See figure 1, for a schematic representation of the System and its components.

Figure 1: Structure of the System, during the period 1480-1945. During the period 1480-1945, a distinction can be made between the core (the European state-system, Europe) and the non-core of the System (the “rest of the world”, so to speak). As I explain in this summary, during the period 1480-1945, a highly synchronized process of integration (aggregation) in/of the core, and a process of expansion from the core to the non-core, was accomplished, in which kinetic activity – war and war dynamics – played an important role. These – and other – processes were integral to a first dissipative structure, the System produced in 1480.

My most recent research – with the title On the Thermodynamics of War and Social Evolution – elaborates and builds on previous research, in which several basic characteristics of the System were identified (Dynamiek en Ontwikkeling van het Internationale Systeem: Een complexiteitsperspectief (2006)), and research which discusses patterns in war dynamics (2020 Warning. Patterns in War Dynamics reveal disturbing Patterns (2016)).

For my most recent research, I have also made use of modern thermodynamics, in addition to concepts and ideas from complexity and network science, and research in ecosystems.

My (rather obvious) assumption is that social systems and their dynamics must also comply with the laws of physics, and that such a perspective can produce valuable (new) contributions to our understanding of social systems and their dynamics, as is the case for ecosystems.

It is about time, that research methods social and political scientists and historians apply, are (more often) based on scientific methods: This will enable us to make better sense of (historical) developments and incidents and can contribute to the improvement of policy advise.

Furthermore, I make in my research use of hard data, especially data that is concerned with the size, severity and duration of wars, in particular Great Power wars.

In this summary, I focus on what I consider the most remarkable finding of the research: The observation, that since 1480, tensions, energy and information in the System, are regulated by dissipative structures; a first dissipative structure during the period 1480-1945, and a second dissipative structure that is active since 1945. These dissipative structures are responsible for the patterns that can be identified in war dynamics, since 1480.

Subsequently, I discuss the following subjects in this summary: Patterns in war dynamics; concepts form thermodynamics, which can be used for the explanation of these patterns, and new insights this research provides us, to improve our understanding of the System.

In the study – On the Thermodynamics of War and Social Evolution – these and other subjects are discussed in detail.

To be continued.