Social Ape Framework

There are features of our society such as the rule of law, freedom and the role of money, and objectives that we share such as safety, participation and opportunity but what do we really mean by these words? Why do we have these conventions and what is their purpose?

Until we have a clearer understanding of the roles and functions of these things, we will find it very difficult to navigate from where we are to a better social construct in balance with our nature and with Nature.

In the Social Ape framework we break down each of those constituent elements into their most basic meanings and show the relationships between them. This allows us to see the bigger picture and to understand ourselves, and our species, in our true context.

We define what we mean by freedom, participation and opportunity and drill into why they are considered to be vital conditions in our societies.

We look at the roles of safety, law, and money to understand how they define and support the purpose of society.

Finally we map the conditions with the qualities to show how they represent the characteristics of a society. This allows us to see why things work the way they do and what the effects of changing our emphasis on any specific element or quality would be.

The Social Ape framework argues that humans are evolved to maximise group decision taking and that to do so we tend naturally towards an ideal configuration of three Qualities that create three Realms. The framework proposes that the behaviour of individuals is guided by unconscious drives towards the ideal configuration and so the results of policies can be anticipated by examining how the policies change the configuration of the framework.

The framework rests on the proposal that there are three critical risks to complex decision taking and that humans have evolved to leverage social groupings to minimise the risks and maximise the efficacy of complex decision taking. The mechanisms described in the framework are purposed to maximise the ability of the whole society to

  • accurately perceive problems,
  • develop appropriate solutions,
  • select the best solutions for implementation,
  • implement the decisions taken.

These Elements are the critical outcomes of the framework. To perceive, solve, select, and implement in the face of the risks of misperception, insolution, indecision and incapacity are the ultimate goals of human societies.

The Qualities that the society must conjure and nurture are

  • Safety (as negative rights of individuals)
  • Rewards (material and social recognitions)
  • Law (as positive rights of individuals and the group)

The purpose of asserting these Qualities is to foster spaces, called Realms in the framework, which maximise

  • diversity
  • specialisation
  • cohesion

The conscious manifestations of these Realms is a society’s intention to create Agencies:

  • freedom
  • opportunity
  • participation

Each Realm has a duality in which it achieves on the one hand the social or group Purpose, and on the other hand the individual experience and Agency necessary to foster the social objective:

  • diversity/freedom
  • cohesion/participation
  • specialisation/opportunity

When a society successfully creates these Realms by asserting the Qualities then the Elements that improve decision taking arise in the intersections between the Realms, and the central intersection (where all three Realms overlap) represents the social capacity to implement the decisions taken.

Where Freedom and Participation Realms intersect represents the ability of the society to develop accurate perceptions of problems by combining the individual perceptions of a diverse population.

Where the Freedom and Opportunity Realms intersect represents the capacity of the society to develop useful solutions by enabling the specialist abilities of its diverse population.

Where Opportunity and Participation intersect represents the ability of the society to select the most useful solutions for implementation by leveraging the diverse perceptions and distributed impulsivity of its population to select from the diverse outputs of its specialists.

The framework is presented as a Venn diagram to aid in understanding the relationship between the Qualities, Realms and Elements.

The Social Ape Framework – clickable

The relative configuration of the Realms describes the functional capacity and capability of the society, as well as the common experience and agency of the individuals in that society.

The framework allows for experimentation with the strength of the Qualities (and by inference the strength or reliability of the Realms) and the relative positioning of the Realms indicating the extent to which the society or the individual has ownership of and is responsible for that Realm. As the boundaries of the Realms change so the Elements change in size and definition which the framework proposes indicates the effect on the society’s ability to take decisions effectively.

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