Self-Regulation as a Global Evolutionary Mega-Trend

Author: Grinin, Anton L.
Almanac: Evolution:Evolution and Big History: Dimensions, Trends, and Forecasts


The article introduces and describes the notion of ‘self-regulation’ which al-lows combining the processes of different nature and complexity into a single trend associated with self-preservation, operation, transformation and increasing complexity of systems in the course of interaction with changing environment. Meanwhile, the study of self-regulation can become an integrative methodological approach uniting various areas of knowledge, such as Cybernetics, Synergetics and Evolutionary Studies. The author traces the manifestations of self-regulation within Big History and its important role in evolution, especially in mega-evolution and in evolutionary transitions to new levels of complexity. One can observe the signs of self-regulation even at the early stages of Big History, for example, during the formation of the first stars. We can also see different alternatives and mechanisms of self-regulation in chemical evolution at the level of systems lacking operating controls. The origin of life became the most important qualitative transition of self-regulation and its complication in the evolutionary context. The systems passed from self-organization and self-adjustment to simple and later complex control. The developed nervous system, especially the brain, became the first self-controllable system. Later the biosocial branch of self-control (including human society) emerged in which self-control is even more vividly manifested in some respects.

However, within evolution the self-regulation is inherent not only to chemical, biological, and social systems. In the present paper we show that in the coming decades the self-regulating systems will emerge and spread in a new form, i.e. in the form of human-created self-regulating technologies. It will result from the new production revolution which we call the Cybernetic one. Its first phase has already begun, and the most mature phase will start between the 2020s and 2030s. This revolution will lead to critical transformations in economy and society and will significantly change the world as well as human modus vivendi.

Keywords:self-regulation, self-control, Big History, mega-evolution, evolution, the Cybernetic Revolution, Synergetics, self-organization, Cybernetics.