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Why Greece became the cradle of the Democracy (by Demosthenes Kyriazis) Print E-mail

periklis-pnikaNote: The answer to the above question is based on our estimation that the Ancient Greek Democracy is the regime with the lowest social entropy of all the regimes that have occurred in the known human history.(1)

The Entropy in natural and social systems
In Statistical Mechanics, the entropy of natural systems is defined as “the measure of disorder, of ataxia”.(2) Low entropy means little ataxia.

In information systems the entropy is defined as “the inverse of the measure of information".(3) Low entropy therefore means big amount of information; it means complete and unadulterated information.

From these definitions and the basic institutions of the ancient Greek Democracy comes out, that the regime of Direct Democracy is a system in which low social entropy prevails, because:

  1. 1.The power (force, energy) remains largely in its natural owners, the citizens. This obviously is the "order", defined by Nature, by God, while the opposite, ie the concentration of citizens’ power in a king, leader or representative is anThe Entropy in social systems therefore relates to breaches of natural principles and not to human laws and police regulations.
  2. 2.The information, the transparency, is maximized in the regime of Direct Democracy, because in this the citizens have the double status: of the governing and theIt is obvious that in such a regime, the restriction and distortion of information, the self – misinformation,  has neither meaning nor potential. Misinformation has meaning and purpose where the citizens have only the status of the governed, the status of subordinate. 

The above conclusion also results from the consideration of the principles and practices of the Athenian Democracy. From this consideration is readily apparent that the basic condition for the development and functioning of democratic institutions is the existence of good citizens’ communication conditions, of conditions that ensure low entropy.

Ancient Greece was the cradle of Democracy because there were conditions ensuring low entropy, conditions of easy communications. The conditions of low entropy have been created from the following characteristics of Greece and the Greeks:

  1. 1.The excellent climatic conditions of Greece.
  2. 2.The organization of ancient Greece in small states, in states-cities.
  3. 3.The great communicative power of the Greek language.
  4. 4.The emergence of logical intelligence, as the main intelligence.

1. The excellent climatic conditions
The excellent climatic conditions are factors improving human communication because they facilitate the movements and concentrations outdoors. Let's not forget that until the late 20th century a good communication technology did not exist and the only interactive way of communication of citizens was their concentration in the same place, in the Agora, in the Pnyka, in the Square, in the Stadium.  

The historic event of the culmination of Democracy and Culture in Athens is compatible with the characteristics of the climate of Attica, which are the best of all the other locations in Greece.

2. The organization in states-cities
The organization of Greece in states of small size and population, in states-cities, is also a key factor in ensuring good communication conditions, because in this case there is a small number of citizens and small distances for their locomotion. 

This organization certainly is due to the mental and spiritual characteristics of the ancient Greeks; but primarily is due to the natural characteristics of the Greek space. These characteristics helped and led the development and operation of this intelligent and anthropocentric mode of organization.

The most important natural characteristics of the Greek space, that supported this organization, were the morphology of the space and the allocation of natural resources.

The morphology of the space. The broader area of Greece is divided into sub-areas delineated and protected by seas and mountains, namely protected by nature itself. Such areas are the islands of Greece which have delimitation and protection from the sea, and other areas which have mixed mode of delimitation and protection; from sea, mountains, rivers, or inaccessible areas. Typical example of an area of mixed mode is Attica. 

The natural insulation and protection which there is now -and in the past there was a lot more - in these areas, has contributed significantly to the organization and survival of small autonomous communities, of the states-cities.

 The distribution of natural resources. In order, an autonomous society to grow and survive there has to have natural resources for the development of agricultural, of livestock, of fishing or of other forms of economical activities.

From the various natural resources, the most basic is that of water. The water resources in Greece are important and have large dispersion. This becomes readily apparent when comparing the water resources of Greece with those of Egypt, two countries which have developed big but different civilizations.

From this comparison easily is shown that Greece has very longer marine coastline and greater number of terrestrial water resources (rivers, lakes, springs, etc.) per square kilometer land, than does Egypt. The gathering in Egypt of all water resources in a river, in the Nile, rendered easy and efficient the control by the rulers of the Egyptian people. Characteristic historical fact is the following: The rulers in Egypt appointed the level of taxes every year, so that people neither starve nor gain power, by observing the indications of the Nilometers(4) Something similar was practically impossible to be done in Greece. Greece has many isolated places with their own water and other resources, which rendered the control of people's economical and social activities impossible from the rulers.

Perhaps this difference explains why in Greece democratic regimes have been developed, while in Egypt monarchy - theocratic ones.

3. The communicative power of the ancient Greek language
The great communicative power of the Greek language stems from the existence of the unique relationship between words and their meanings. This principle expressed through sayings: «Tο Λακωνίζειν εστί φιλοσοφείν» (Plainly and brief expression is philosophy) and «Σοφόν το σαφές» (The clear word is wise), made the Greek language the richest, the most beautiful and the most communicative language, from all other languages. If the ancient Greeks had an ambiguous and brindled language, perhaps the natural characteristics of the site and the intelligent organization would not be enough to make Greece the Cradle of Democracy. 

The role of the language in the development of Democracy and Civilization is a big issue not covered from the conclusion of a physicist. On this topic better is to hear the pundits. We only mention the words that said our great poet Odysseus Elytis, to the Swedish Academics, during the award ceremony of the Nobel Prize, because we believe in those words the essence of the Greek language is included:

“Here I am now, today, in Stockholm with a unique chapter in my hands, a few words. They are humble, but alive, being in the lips of an entire people. Aged three thousand years. But they are so fresh as if someone just pulled them out from the Sea. Among the pebbles and seaweed of Aegean, in the bright blue and in the absolute transparency of ether, words such: Ουρανός (Sky), Θάλασσα (Sea), Ήλιος (Sun), Ελευθερία (Freedom).  With respect I deposit them to your feet”.  And yet his words, "... in a last analysis language is ethos."

4. The emergence of logical intelligence, as the main intelligence
Intelligence is humans’ ability to process information with the power of logic and not with power of the incentives and instincts. Information receives all animals but they don’t treat it with the power of logic, but with the power of instincts and of motivations.

We now know that the main types of human intelligence are two: The logical intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ), and their sum is the total human intelligence. The type of intelligence which constitutes the “majority" in the overall intelligence, we can call it “main or dominant intelligence”  

From the consideration of historical data comes out that there is a strong correlation between the dominant intelligence and: of the type of writing, of the mode of perception, and of the political systems. 

Specifically, in societies where the dominant intelligence was the IQ, there have been developed: the alphabetic writing, the open / logical perception and democratic regimes. In contrast, in societies where the dominant intelligence was the EQ, there have been developed: the symbolic scriptures, the dogmatic perception and monarchy / theocratic regimes. These views can be written as relations of cause /result, as the following “equations”: 

1. IQ = Alphabetical Writing + Open / Logical Perception + Democracy.

2. EQ = Symbolic Writing +Dogmatic Perception+ Monarchy. 

It is clear that the first relationship was applied in ancient Greece, which gave birth: to the logic, alphabetic writing, open / spherical thinking and Democracy. Cases of the second relationship can rather easily be identified in societies of Eastern peoples of the past, but in many societies today.

Today, people have, thanks to digital technology, fantastic ample communication conditions, much better than those of ancient Greece.  Therefore, if the digital technology will be used to serve real democratic institutions, will become the people's vision. Conversely, if used to serve oligarchs or pseudo - democratic institutions will become their nightmare; like that described by George Orwell in his well known «1984».

(1) More analytical approach of this issue is on pages 19-29 of our book:  «Digital Democracy. The influence of modern Physics and of Digital Technology in the Democracy».  Publications:  Greek Physicists’ Association, 2009.

(2) The mathematical relationship of this definition has been made by the father of Statistical Mechanics Austrian Physicist Lountivch Boltzmann (1844 - 1906), is:  S = K LnW, where S is the entropy, W parameter of ataxia and K the Boltzmann's constant. This mathematical relationship is written on the Boltzmann’s grave.

(3) The mathematical relationship of this definition was made by the American Mathematician and Electrical Engineer Claud Shannon, (1916-2001) and is identical to that of Boltzmann. The Shannon proved that the Ataxia and the InformatiThon have a constant sum. This means that "high information" equals with “low entropy;” with low ataxia. I think the used by politician term transparency means, large measure of information, namely low entropy.

(4) The Nilometers were wells, constructed in such positions that the surface of water each time corresponds to the surface of the Nile. From the evidence of Nilometers, arise reliable conclusions about the size of agricultural production and hence about the taxes that people must give to the rulers.

Source: Digital Direct Democracy

Photo from wikipedia


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