The Age of Collective Individualism and the Formation of the Homo stimulus raise one of the most fundamental Questions in Human History!
The world of the future is undoubtedly that of collective individualism. This is supported by the modern stimulus society as well as by behavioral capitalism and raises a fundamental question that goes far beyond the consideration of the actual elements. Perhaps it is the most important question of the 21st century. Change of imes, Homo stimulus, beahvioral capitalism, stimulus society, milieu struggle - these concrete processes of adaptation, as important as their observation may be, should not be the focus of attention, but rather a fundamental, almost philosophical thought, which so far still represents a small snow flurry that could turn into an unstoppable avalanche within a few decades.
Do you still need the red thread?
The central question to be raised is that of causality. Yes, life seems causal. Cause, effect, sequence. Birth, adolescence, ageing, dying. The logic seems to confirm the existence of the link. But does human life in the future need a past and a progressionat all? Or just the moment?
The question is, of course, deliberately exaggerated, and indeed it was long unimaginable that there could be a renunciation of causality in human life. Isn't it an indispensable part of existence? Is human life in whole or in part conceivable without the famous red thread? The reader of these lines may spontaneously deny this, and yet sooner or later, assuming a corresponding life span, he will have to deal with the thought in question, because it seems that this question could become a central one of the 21st century.
But a waiver of causality? Unimaginable? In philosophy it was not. However, courage and abstraction is easier to find in thoughts than in reality. But at some point, parts of the natural sciences followed, one thinks of quantum physics. Yeah, right. But isn't this all just a niche that is insignificant for life? Uncoupled from a world in which B simply presupposes A? So difficult to understand and therefore irrelevant? You might think so.
New times - new world views
For some people, however, this view of the world changes with the onset of the change of times, with the increasingly perceptible embedding of the human being and the age of collective individualism that begins with it. More and more it became conceivable, even if only for a small group, that man could give up the red thread or parts of it in favour of a permanent individualised world, which a before and after does not necessarily need. The more perfect the collective individualism, the less need there is for connections, since the focus will always be on the momentary satisfaction of needs. The stimuli come and go. Over and over again. No need for a past, none for the future. If necessary, memories can perhaps even be artificially created at some point, but it is rather unlikely that the satisfaction of the moment still requires such glances, even if not excluded.
At this point, of course, it must be pointed out that an extreme is described - knowing full well that reality constantly prefers the mixed form.
And yet the idea remains astonishingly logical, even if it must understandably meet with rejection from some readers, but why does a completely embedded person, from whom - also exaggeratedly formulated - every wish is read by the eyes, need a red thread? And isn't this embedding the core of behavioural capitalism, of the modern stimulating society - in short, of collective individualism? Why would he still want to remember beautiful experiences from the past? There would be no terrible thing if he had already spent his life in the frame. And he doesn't have to worry about anything. All this is done by algorithms and artificial intelligence. And wouldn't everybody be happy with that? The idea that causality is lost in part in a perfect collective individualism in the end is thus by no means absurd, but even likely.
A frightening example
Let's take an example: that of a dementia sufferer in an advanced stage of the disease who forgets events, decisions and people within minutes. Such a person knows causality only to a limited extent; perhaps not at all. At some point, he'll probably go completely off the grid. For observers this is a terrible state, for the sick person it is probably when he or she is consciously aware of the change. But what else does he perceive? What is happiness beyond the red thread? Are these then only individual moments that pass immediately? We do not know, of course, and the neuroscientist could raise some objections here, based on proven changes in the brain, but it cannot be denied that life also shows variants without causality, even though they may seem terrible to us.
A concrete example
Now we look at the mechanisms of behavioral capitalism, the embedding, the modern stimulus society and the homo stimulus and a similar principle emerges:
How many of the activating stimuli that caused a reaction for a brief moment are forgotten after only a few seconds? Does it matter whether these - for the individual - are connected in any way? Isn't it enough that the short video was entertaining for a minute, the text message briefly demanded attention? In this way, are not hundreds, perhaps thousands of social interactions devoid of any causality? Undoubtedly there may always have been meaningless and unremembrance-worthy distractions, but in this form and intensity?
Now, the Homo stimulus should by no means be compared with a dementia sufferer, because the stimulus person is ultimately only an adaptation and further development and does not carry a potential renunciation of correlations in itself, but it would ultimately result from the interaction with the environment and the personal disposition. The sufferer, on the other hand, is a pitiable individual who gradually loses control and ultimately loses himself. It is not possible for him, according to the current state of medical development, to defend himself against what is coming, while Homo stimulus can actively shape.
Designing or being designed?
But to be able to act, knowledge is also required. The change of times, the homo stimulus, the stimulus society, behavioural capitalism, the era of collective individualism - the signs are visible, they only need to be interpreted and controlled, because they cannot be stopped. Large parts of the people are ready to open up to the new time and even welcome it. Likewise, for each new generation everything will be a little more understandable than for the previous one. And in the end, causality is also at stake.
And isn't there a threat of an unprecedented loss of control over many areas of life without connection? Or is that acceptable for a perhaps better future? In the end, it doesn't matter? For quite a few probably quite.
A bold thesis? Or just an inconvenient truth?
Do not think in extremes!
Of course, objections can be found to dismiss this possible future as utopian or dystopian mind games. But this only works if you think in extremes. Therefore, the most obvious objection should be mentioned:
Collective individualism cannot be perfect as long as there are still milieu struggles and there is no end in sight, because the world will never be able to solve the distributional issues - from today's perspective - and the change of times brings with it a lot of unresolved problems and conflicts.
This remark is correct and the struggle between the phenomenon of milieu struggle and individual collectivism will occupy us as humanity for the whole century to come, but we should not think in extremes at this point, because there is not only a choice between total and abandoned causality, but so much in between.
Yes, it will continue to exist. The poor person, who has to fight for his economic existence every day with a badly paid job, but that will not stop him either from being embedded in parallel and thus perhaps losing part of the causality. Yes, even the homo stimulus will have to continue to eat. He will want to love and yet he lives in a stimulating society and in times of behavioral capitalism.
There, in the parallelism will also lie the reality of the future. There, in an imperfect collective individualism with its manifold intermediate and partial solutions in which causality sometimes remains significant and then becomes increasingly blurred.
Nevertheless, the fundamental question remains and it therefore makes sense to ask it today.
- This contribution by Andreas Herteux is an adapted extract from the monograph "Homo Stimulus: Fundamentals of Human Adaptation and Development in the Age of Collective Individualism, ISBN 978-3948621131, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.3675389
Other relevant writings are:
- Homo Stimulus: Fundamentals of Human Adaptation and Development in the Age of Collective Individualism, ISBN 978-3948621131, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.3675389
- First Foundations of Behavioral Capitalism: A New Variety of Capitalism Gains Power and Influence", Andreas Herteux, Erich von Werner Verlag, 2019, ISBN 978-3981900675, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.3469568
- The Alternative Hegemony Model (AH Model): The "invisible hand" of nurture for the better, Andreas Herteux, Erich von Werner Verlag, 2019, ISBN 978-3-9819006-1-3, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.1894461
- Homo Stimulus: Grundlagen menschlicher Anpassung und Weiterentwicklung im Zeitalter des kollektiven Individualismus" (ISBN-13: 978-3948621124, DOI10.5281/zenodo.3666616).
- Das Alternative Hegemonie Modell (AH-Modell): Die unsichtbare Hand der Erzie-hung zum Guten, Andreas Herteux, Erich von Werner Verlag, 2019, ISBN 978-3-9819006-4-4, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1894403
- Erste Grundlagen des Verhaltenskapitalismus: Bestandsaufnahme einer neuen Spielart des Kapitalismus, Andreas Herteux, Erich von Werner Verlag, 2019, ISBN 978-3981900651, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.3469587
A modern stimulus society is generally understood to be a group of individuals who are exposed to stimuli with a high frequency of influence, usually artificially generated, and who have difficulty or difficulty in escaping them, or in some cases do not want to.
By a Homo stimulus, one understands such a conditioned person, who is used to a permanent confrontation with highly frequented, short as well as artificial stimuli and who can or wants to elude them only partially or hardly. On the contrary, certain stimuli are often demanded or a corresponding stimulus dialogue is initiated.
Behavioral capitalism is a form of capitalism in which human behaviour becomes the central factor in the production and provision of goods and services.
Collective individualism is understood to be an individualism in which the individual is embedded in such a way that individual self-development can take place within a framework that is not or hardly visible.