It is generally recognized that life is becoming more complex. This article analyzes the human social environment using the “complexity profile,” a mathematical tool for characterizing the collective behavior of a system. The analysis is used to justify the qualitative observation that complexity of existence has increased and is increasing. The increase in complexity is directly related to sweeping changes in the structure and dynamics of human civilization—the increasing interdependence of the global economic and social system, and the instabilities of dictatorships and corporate hierarchies. Our complex social environment is consistent with identifying global human civilization as an organism capable of complex behavior that protects its components (us) and which should be capable of responding effectively to complex environmental demands.
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