The past century has been the testing-ground for political systems that aimed at given complexer societies a unified control. Most of the ideals of these systems were inherited from the nineteenth century but were never put into practice. It has cost unendurable suffering of millions of people to come to the conclusion that all failed, with the possible exception of democracy.
The main problem is of course the human psyche. Torn between egoistic drives and intellectual infatuations, only in exceptional cases man’s ideals are realized, often at self-expense. More often than not the individual succumbs to selfish interests. His struggle between self and the good of society is reflected in the policies of nations. More than ever, behind smug appearances, nations strive at furtherance of their own self-interest at the expense of the welfare of other nations.
Part of the chaotic structure of civilisation is influenced by man’s herd instincts. Modern society relies on specialisms. As most people have no idea of specialists’ considerations they leave decisions to their judgement. Prof. Cyril Northcote Parkinson observed that committees spend most time discussing expenditure of small sums of money, than large ones. Reason is that most people have a firm grasp of smaller issues but not the complicated and important ones. Generally major decisions are left to specialists, as few people understand the issues in question.
In this manner specialists’ recommendations on legislature, education, economics, finances, explorations, or warfare are being followed without anyone having an idea of the consequences. In small groups of insiders a culture may grow that is far removed from reality. Yet, their views may have far-reaching influence. In history such groups of politicians, philosophers, theologians, experts, or specialists have often been the nucleus of ideas that had far-reaching effect, sometimes extremist and detrimental, because its consequences could not be grasped by outsiders.
We have to take into account that a major catastrophe may result in the breakdown of society as we know it. The resulting upset balance of power will set a series of events into motion the outcome of which we cannot foresee.