Social dynamics of development

Social dynamics of development

The various social dynamics of development are as follows:

• We define social development, in its broadest social terms, as an upward directional movement of society from lesser to greater levels of energy, efficiency, quality, productivity, complexity, comprehension, creativity, choice, mastery, enjoyment, and accomplishment. The development of individuals and societies results in increasing freedom of choice, and an increasing capacity to fulfil its choices by its own capacity and initiative.

• Growth and development usually go together, but they are different phenomena subject to different laws. Growth involves a horizontal or quantitative expansion and multiplication of existing types and forms of activities. Development involves a vertical or qualitative enhancement of the level of organization.

• Social development is driven by the subconscious aspirations and will of society for advancement. The social will seeks progressive fulfilment of a prioritized hierarchy of needs – security of borders, law and order, self sufficiency in food and shelter, organization for peace and prosperity, expression of excess energy in entertainment, leisure and enjoyment, knowledge, and artistic creativity.

• The development of society occurs only in fields where that collective will is sufficiently strong and seeking expression. Development strategies are most effective when they focus on identifying areas where the social will is mature, and when they provide better means for the awakened social energy to express itself. Only those initiatives that are in concordance with this subconscious urge will gain momentum and multiply. The development of the collective is subconscious. It starts with physical experience which eventually leads to conscious comprehension of the process. Conscious development that is based on conceptual knowledge of the social process accelerates development, and minimizes errors and imbalances.

• Society is the field of organized relationships and interactions between individuals. Only a small portion of human activity is organized for utilization by society, so only a small portion of development potential (of technology, knowledge, information, skills, systems) is tapped.

• Every society possesses a huge reservoir of potential human energy that is absorbed and held static in its organized foundations—its cultural values, physical security, social beliefs, and political structures. At times of transition, crises, and opportunities, those energies are released and expressed in action. Policies, strategies, and programs that tap this latent energy and channel it into constructive activities can stir an entire nation to action and rapid advancement.

The act is the basic unit of social organization. The evolution of more complex and productive activities woven together by people to form systems, organizations, institutions, and cultural values constitute the fabric or web of social organization.

• The essential nature of the development process is the progressive development of social organizations and institutions that harness and direct the society’s energies for higher levels of accomplishment. Society develops by organizing all the knowledge, human energies, and material resources at its disposal to fulfil its aspirations.

• The process of forming organizations takes place simultaneously at several levels: the organization of peace and physical security in society; the organization of physical activities and infrastructure; the organization of productive processes through the application of skills and technology in agriculture, industry and services; the organization of social processes we call systems, laws, institutions and administrative agencies; the organization of data as useful information; the organization of knowledge through education and science; and, the organization of higher social and cultural values that channel human energy into higher forms of expression. Each of these levels of organization admits of unlimited development. Each of these levels of organization depends upon, and, interacts with the others. Elevating the organization at any of these levels increases the utilization of resources and opportunities and accelerates development.

• Development requires an enormous investment of energy to break existing patterns of social behaviour and form new ones. Development takes place when surplus social energies accumulate beyond the level required for functioning at the present level. The social energy may be released in response to the opening up of a new opportunity, or, confrontation by a severe challenge. Where different cultures meet and blend, explosive energies for social evolution are released. The expression of surplus energy through existing forms of activity may result in growth — a quantitative expansion of society at the existing level of organization. Channelling the surplus energy into more complex and effective forms of organized activity leads to development — a qualitative enhancement in the capabilities of the society.

The fresh initiatives that lead to this qualitative enhancement usually occur first in the unorganized activities of society that are not constrained and encumbered by the inertia of the status quo.

• The rate and extent of development is determined by prevalent social attitudes which control the flow of social energies. Where attitudes are not conducive, development strategies will not yield results. In this case the emphasis should be placed on strategies to bring about a change in social attitudes — such as public education, demonstration, and encouragement of successful pioneers.

• Development proceeds rapidly in those areas where the society becomes aware of opportunities and challenges and has the will to respond to them. Increasing awareness accelerates the process.

• Social progress is stimulated by pioneering individuals who first become conscious of new opportunities and initiate new behaviours and activities to take advantage of them. Pioneers are the lever, or, spearhead for collective advancement. Pioneers give conscious expression to the subconscious urges and readiness of the collective. Development occurs when pioneering individual initiatives are imitated by others, multiplied and actively supported by the society. Society, then, actively organizes the new activity by establishing supportive laws, systems and institutions. At the next stage, it integrates the new activity with other fields of activity and assimilates it into its educational system. The activity has become fully assimilated as part of the culture when it is passed on to the next generation as values through the family.

• Development is a process, not a program. Development is an activity of a society as a whole. It can be stimulated, directed, or assisted by government policies, laws, and special programs, but it cannot be compelled, or, carried out by administrative or, external agencies on behalf of the population. Development strategy should aim to release people’s initiative, not to substitute for it.

• All resources are the creation of the human mind. Something becomes a resource when human beings recognize a productive or, a more productive use for it. Since there are no inherent limits to human inventiveness and resourcefulness, the potential productivity of any resource is unlimited. Human beings are the ultimate resource and the ultimate determinant of the development process. It is a process of people becoming more aware of their own creative potentials and taking initiatives to realize those potentials.

Human awareness, aspiration, and attitudes determine society’s response to circumstances. Development occurs only at the points where humanity recognizes its power to determine results.

• The development of social organizations takes place within a larger evolutionary context in which the consciousness of humanity is evolving along a continuum from physical to vital to mental. This evolution is expressed as a progressive shift in emphasis from material resources to technological and information resources; from the social importance of land to the importance of money and knowledge; from the hereditary rights of the elite to fundamental rights for all human beings; from reliance on physical forms of authority to laws and shared values.

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