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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

Democracy is Failing, Health of Nations is Failing, and Pandemic is Raging: Systems Science Exposés

Ivo P. Janecka
American Journal of Educational Research. 2021, 9(5), 300-312. DOI: 10.12691/education-9-5-8
Received April 17, 2021; Revised May 22, 2021; Accepted May 30, 2021

Abstract

All societies have goals of achieving health, happiness, and longevity, but without success. Visible to all are organizational structures that are under stress, international collaboration that is without harmony, and priorities that are missing their targets. A search for etiology and a possible common denominator of such outcomes has been conducted in this study using systems science. Results of this research indicate that, in many societies, there exist numerous deviations from systems science principles, regarding health, components relationships, decisions – consequences learning loops, and many others; all such nonconformities lead to fragmentation of collective intelligence, predominantly affecting rationality and responsibility to self and to all-related larger systems.

1. Introduction

‘Nobody ever did or ever will escape consequences of his choice’. Alfred Armand Montapert, (1970) 1

‘People will come to love their oppression [by] technologies that undo their capacities to think’. Aldous Huxley, (1932) 2

‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’. Ludwig Wittgenstein, (1922) 3

‘Rights and duties are inseparable’. Mary Wollstonecraft, (1792) 4

Democracy, capitalism, communism, etc., are failing or have already failed as societal organizational systems and no historic record exists of successful long-term human governing relationships, measured within a given timeframe and speed of communication, regardless of perceived destiny.

Is there a common etiologic denominator, for the three dominant headline topics, jointly cresting during the early part of the 21st century, but have millennia-long separate oscillating records? The ‘new normal for 2025’, recently projected by Pew Research, will see life worse for most people, with greater inequality, rising authoritarianism, rampant misinformation, etc.’; such features characterize unhealthy societal systems. The March 21, 2021 University World News emphasizes that ‘democracy is at a crossroads’. Corporate America, especially sectors engaged in communication, is ‘becoming increasingly dominant political force’, further diminishing the role of elected officials; the financial influence of corporations on governments always existed; what is new and more profound, is their dominance of public communication channels, affecting societal decisions and relationships. 5, 6, 7

2. Research Questions

Can state of health be considered a common denominator for democracy and pandemics?

Does systems science offer valid insight into this research title topics?

What is ‘sameness’ in a population and what it isn’t?

Do we ‘see’ what others ‘see’, how the digitized sensory input becomes the words in our mind and how the words frame decisions?

How changes in life expectancy in mid-life affect the entire society?

3. Material/Method

Scientific articles and general public domain publications, from 1960 to present, were reviewed in the context of systems science and possible relevance to democracy, health and the 2020 pandemic. In this research, individual articles were considered data, finding what united some of them was seen as patterned information, and figuring out what it all meant, the aggregate knowledge, was searched for within systems science principles.

This study examines the headline topics and research questions through systems science, a method that allow for assenting interpretation of biologic systems; in an aggregate, it provides a framework for interpretation of past and current events and offers a high-level of probability outcome for the future. Systems science methodology, originally conceptualized by von Bertalanffy in the 1960s, was selected for this study for its focus on extracting the most ‘inclusive’ principles from observations of life. 8

4. Discussion

All problems created by humans have human solutions; a systems science-based root cause analysis reveals where to look for them; etiologies originate ‘upstream’ with our decisions; the ‘downstream’ consequences simply reveal the materialization of such decisions; a functional ‘upstream-downstream’ connection is the best ‘decisions-consequences learning loop’ used by evolution, because it is the ‘relationship of causality’; it is without nebulous surrogate markers, inserted by humans that distort the perspective of applied systems science principles.

‘Decisions – consequences relationship’ reflects mutual temporal dependency with inevitable accumulation of non-functionality, leading to entropy, for as long as the gap exists; if not quickly bridged, such a breach leads to components/subsystems/organs disorder with diagnosable diseases; age-related diseases are outcomes of ongoing gaps; healthy systems also develop some gaps but they are quickly bridged and errors are rapidly corrected.

People exist in Nature and must live with its principles; the only ‘morality’ ever needed is the measure of compliance with these principles. Humans are only a small component of Nature with, mostly, negative impact on it; Nature, the largest living ecosystem, does have corrective processes applicable to all of its components, when they consistently fail to contribute an optimizing input to the larger system.

All people desire health but fail to implement the well-known steps; such a neglect creates ever-growing prevalence of diseases in a society, in spite of ever-increasing research and cost of managing morbidities by health care; health, however, is not health care; health is something that each person has to earn, as it represents an emergence, an outcome, of each individual lifestyle decisions; health cannot be purchased or legislated; health represents personal fitness that, when in prevalence in a society, would have positive cascading impact on education, sustainability, climate change, race and relationships, etc.; without healthy citizens, a healthy society, democracy, etc. is a bridge too far.

Democracy, health, and even pandemic, are all consequences of our decisions; a common denominator, however, does exist in spite the fact that what we ‘see and hear’ in the world is different for all of us, and always will be.

Two special analogies are being used in the text in order to provide a visual representation of summary concepts of ‘how we know that we know’. The first is related to the Rosetta stone, one of the most significant archeological finds, excavated near Rosetta town in Egypt; the carved basalt stone is a record of bi-lingual (Greek to Egyptian) translation in tri-lingual writing formats (Greek, high-class Egyptian and common demotic) of instructions, from Egypt’s ruler the Ptolemy V, to his people in 205 BC. The imagined ‘Rosetta stone App’ in current text, represents a process, a functionality within neuro-net, its system emergence for word recognition, including the previously known key language sites in temporal, parietal and frontal lobes, and converting the binary sensory signals during processing into the symbols of our internal language(s); and there are over 7,000 languages in existence/use today; this represents enormous variability of ‘primary thought-generating’ semantic medium in the population, handicapping intra- and inter- societal communication due to the needed translation into an ‘official’ spoken tongue. The second equivalency concept, used in this text, deals with the human capacity to use such words and construct meaning, an individual perceptional reality, by forming a framework bounding our own world view. For ease of understanding, this final mosaic can be simplified to the current commercially ubiquitous Quick Review/Read (QR) code, which is unique to a given task, in multi-lingual writing (digital, analogue, and symbolic) and in two dimensions, projecting multidimensionality into 2D. [Figure 1a,b]

‘Rosetta stone App’ generates ‘words, numbers, notes’, etc., (e.g. black, glass, rubber or 1-2-3-4 or musical notes, such as b-flat-minor), for what is digitally processed from senses, and offers them to our consciousness; but, it is the framework, the ‘QR code’ of perceptional reality, ‘our world view’, which recognizes the subjective meaning of the ‘symbols’, (e.g., from previous example: it is a car - it is a number 1,234 - it is Tchaikovsky’s symphony), thus completing the sequence from alphanumeric sensory input, into ‘symbols’ of the languages of the mind, and to the final comprehension of the full meaning.

4.1. Systems Science

Systems science has been selected for its hermeneutic capacities; it offers a framework for active and participatory life through the prism of its principles, explaining why, ‘we see and understand the world’ so differently; any commanded uniformity of a ‘world view’, which is not based on health, requires domineering control of population’s sensory input, done by vertical governing hierarchy and its ‘cultural’ clusters.

A system has components in relationships and all must participate; based on their collective quality of output/emergence, adaptation and evolution of the larger system is either healthy or not. [Figure 2a-f].

Hierarchies exist on all levels of Nature, which evolution refined and proven their existential roles; healthy horizontal working hierarchy is a source of organized complexity and value creation through its emergence/output/outcome; again, healthy vertical governing hierarchy offers boundaries for safety but without interference with self-organization within the horizontal hierarchy, which its laws must only facilitate; Nature is hierarchical by design, not by a ‘fiat’. Pew Research, reported on Mar 13, 2021 that ‘neither [governing political] party is viewed favorably by a majority of the public’. [Figure 3]

Systems science is testable for its evolutionary validity on all levels of life and time-scales; this method looks at every event of life as being part of inter-relationships among various systems: people(s), nations, ecology, etc.

Systems science differentiates complexity into organized and disorganized one, also labeled as ‘complicatedness’. Organized complexity evolves from self-organization of horizontal working hierarchy and only in such a state, a system can generate value due to healthy relationships that express a quadrangle of reciprocity, fairness, empathy and trust; here, trust is the pre-eminent component of these connections and is measurable; in a society, a look at what supports financial debt, for example, reveals that a healthy society has solid credit on which new debt is based; unhealthy ones base debt on debt.

Nature is complex but organized, it is not complicated. Historically, societies have mostly expressed disorganized complexity and, in the future, even the most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) will not solve human problems regardless of its computational speed and intelligence will not be the outcome of AI processing; computers, even quantum ones, are only using binary language for handling sensory input (bits or qubits) without any capacity for perception; only trained cognition can create meaning from processing but can only do it at a very low speed due to cognitive threshold; living systems cannot be translated and coded into simple mathematical expression of binary existence eluding any generation of meaning; any programming simply incorporates the perceptional reality of writers into the operational algorithms, but cannot be consider to represent life.

A system, in a state of disorganized complexity, is unable to achieve self-organization and create value; adaptation and evolution functions are failing, intra- and inter- system relationships are unhealthy, which are subject to chaos principles of sudden deterioration, leading to internal and/or external wars/meltdowns, following the ‘tipping point’ reversal.

In a society, government represents the vertical governing hierarchy and must comply with systems principles, regarding relationship with self and horizontal working hierarchy; without healthy relationship with self, only interference, not optimization of others, will ensue, offering only disorganized complexity; both vanishing democracy and poor population’s health are prima facie.

The best studied living model of ecologic adaptation and evolution, is the human body, which carries its transgenerational memory of past decisions but offers an option for modifying inherited epigenomic memory via decisions with further consequence to every new reproductive life; decisions, however, are cumulative for each individual as well as any subsequent generation.

Perception guides the decision process and creates individual reality; no one is born with perception or language; both are ephemeral cognitive states, whose steps are learned, one word, one image, one decision at a time over a period of time. Perception pre-codes sensory input and our perception – what we think we ‘see’ - is actually what we decided to ‘see’.

The past and the preset are two separate occurrences. The past was created by the perceptional reality, the then-prevailing perception, controlling/framing any sensory input, which is not available to any future historian; history writings are subjective and highly inaccurate, more in a category of ‘historic fiction’. The ‘present’ needs to remember the ‘past’, learn from it but not to judge it; the ‘present’ does not give anyone the capacity of ‘past perceptional reality’.

Perceptional reality is the α and the of our existential state as it determines our epistemology; it not only tells us what we ‘see’ today but also frames what we will ‘see’ tomorrow, eliminating just about everything else; it is modified with each sensory encounter; the influential formative factors vary, depending upon in which phase of life they exert their influence; in the first phase of life, the ancestral phase, it is the impact of our parents, family, through their shared epigenome received during reproduction and their subsequent cultural influence; in the second phase, the phase of decisions, starting in the 20’s, when anatomic structures for the cognitive neuro-net (the prefrontal cortex), have completed structural maturation process, and are then ready to offer functionality for independent development of decisions, with the power to modify, positively or negatively, own epigenome; the relationship between decisions and epigenome is a close-loop entanglement that give rise to eventual health consequences that parallel previous decisions; during the third and last phase of life, the phase of consequences, starting in the 50’s, the perceptional reality and person’s state of health, simply reflect the momentum of decisions made decades earlier.

At any point of life, the final cognitive construct of sensory perception has to deal with two limiting thresholds, where health expands them and poor health diminishes them: one-energy, which has a maximum at all biologic levels, and two-the individual capacity for comprehension/understanding/translation, through ‘Rosetta stone App’ and ‘QR code’, into the ‘language of thoughts’; the cognitive threshold for understanding, which runs only at about 60-110 bits per second, is the speed of an average conversational dialog.

Bill Bryson, in his book ‘The Body’, describes an everyday example with the sense of touch: ‘brain doesn't just tell you how something feels, but how it ought to feel. That's why the caress of a lover feels wonderful, but the same touch by a stranger would feel creepy or horrible’; this illustration simply reflects the state of person’s differing perceptional reality run through divergent ‘QR codes’. 9

The final creation of thoughts depends on the language in which thoughts are generated, including the extent of available lexicon, the rigidity of grammar, etc.; syntax represents rules for users, the horizontal hierarchy, set up by historic traditions of some preceding governing vertical hierarchy; combining various influential and inter-related vertical hierarchies, e.g. grammar, government, momentum of antiquity, etc., the impact on creative thoughts of individuals can be devastating; for example, in a society with totalitarian government, while using language with rigid grammar, any richness of thoughts vanishes into flatness and reiteration. [Figure 4]

4.2. Systems Science View on Democracy

The foundational references for our democracy include the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Though written 100 years apart, 1776 and 1863, both documents contain many identical ambitious statements/words composed under dominating clouds and a sense of urgency of war, from England, expressed in the Declaration, and the Address, delivered during the Civil War; in both cases, there was an existential threat that impacted the thought process of the authors, their perceptional reality, how they saw the world and their place in it, all expressed in their writings. Declaration of Independence had aspirational goals of forming a new nation and achieving equality among other peoples/nations, while Lincoln’s goal was saving one nation and its people from themselves.

Democracy is not a word or a promissory note, it is adaptation and evolution among healthy living people in a society, with skills acquired not through schooling but through a real-time learning loop between decisions and consequences; the still prevailing concept, to ‘privatize decisions’ and ‘socialize consequences’, is counterproductive to democracy; this is due to the fact that decisions modify individual, not ‘societal’, epigenome, setting in motion health consequences, the morphologic momentum, even if society underwrites the consequences through health care; sooner or later, the diseased phenotype becomes evident (e.g., smoking and lung cancer); as health vanishes, democracy is in peril.

4.3. Facts of Life – Seeing the Larger Picture

Everything in the Universe moves - planets, stars, etc., and all are in some form of synchronous relationship; if not, they become the ‘falling starts’ on their ‘final run’. Similarly, here on Earth, everything needs to be in synch with the planet Earth, which is not only moving around the Sun but also around its own axis, and, it is the latter that impose and require all living entities to be in synch with it, down to most cells. Any living system, including humans that is not in synch with the harmonic hierarchical complexity of life, is on its own ‘end run’, within a ‘disharmonic disorganized complexity’, including every DNA, as large fractions of the genome are clock-controlled; being out of synch with the ‘day-night/light-darkens rhythm’, leads to ‘out of synch decisions and lifestyle choices’; to wit, there already exists a long list of known diseases, such as various cancers, neuro-degenerative diseases, immune system dysregulation and shortened lifespan that are associated with desynchronized circadian rhythm; this 24 hour rhythm controls behavior, hormones, the immune system and metabolism; bottom line: one either lives with this 3 billion-year old evolutionary cycle or goes against it at own risk.

The emergence of declining life expectancy since about 2010, should have been a warning of the existence of highly prevalent societal non-optimizing relationships, primarily with self and, consequently, with others, a scenario for upcoming national ‘tremors’; the reported causes of early deaths affecting longevity, were listed as ‘self-abuse’ (drugs, suicide, etc.), but ‘self-abuse’, per systems science, is a ‘war on self’, an end-stage of any relationship; under such sociological headlines, available in public domain, one should have read the diminishing longevity as a downstream consequence of long-term, society-prevalent unhealthy decision-making, recorded within each epigenome, causing downregulation of key longevity genes in the immune and neuro signaling system. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 demonstrated, on a massive scale, the existence of failing immune and cognitive systems.

The all-surprising ‘sudden’ outbreak of the pandemic, was likely the ‘tipping point’, as known in chaos theory - when the global unhealthy population has reached its final growth; common analogies to this principle exist: building a ‘sand pile’ until one more grain at the top causes an avalanche; or, the ‘butterfly effect’, expressing a state of system criticality: a butterfly flutters its wings in Brazil and a tornado develops in Texas; chaos theory expects a sudden and significant reversals in such circumstances.

In 2021, it is unlikely that most people would work, play, etc. in a smoke-filled room, due to recognition of ‘air pollution’, but they don’t mind ‘sensory input pollution’, from various streaming devices, in many public places and often at home as well.

In early 2021, Pew Research study found that 31% of U.S. adults go online ‘almost constantly’, a 50% increase in just 5 years, indicating an approaching a peak with consequences to follow. For a large percentage of population, three inter-related problems are evolving with excessive information input:

One - it fully saturates individual’s cognitive threshold, leaving close to zero cognitive capacity for independent thoughts and decisions; just listening to TV announcers will totally saturate listeners’ cognition.

Two - information overload desynchronizes brain regions, affecting perceptional reality.

Three - 2-D input from digital devices, also alters/downscales the normally complex 3-D hippocampal memory framework; the flat 2-D input from 2-D screens, leads to flat/2-D hippocampal network, skewing perception of the world; on a large scale, such a state resembles societal ‘hypnosis’, a massive suggestive state, fragmenting collective intelligence and consequential rationality and responsibility. 10, 11, 12

Nature/Life does not require or favors sameness/equality, which is unsustainable on a large scale, thus doesn’t exist; diversity is what life has been about throughout its evolution; sameness is similar to a status quo which, in any system, is an evidence of regressive entropy, the accumulation of non-functionality and lack of healthy adaptation and evolution; life measures each component’s contribution to its larger system, and either rewards it, by incorporating it into its evolutionary processes that go on living, or discards it into an end-state of recycling phase, the ‘falling star’ scenario. Evolution of life is about optimization of function and structure of the entire ecosystem, with the need for all its components to contribute their complementary ‘merit’ to the larger system; evolution supports such contributions but the opposite is true as well; non-contributors are recycled.

Though many theories exist, we still don’t know for sure how the ‘miracle of life’ did occurred; what we do know, however, is that this ‘creation’ continues through the process of ongoing ‘reproduction’, forging an observable evolutionary path; everyone can see the ‘equality’ of creation-we all have two eyes, two arms, legs, etc.; it is the embryonic development that gives us ‘sameness’; what we do with the gift of life shortly after birth is up to us, when individual decisions change the endowed framework for genetic as well as cognitive memory; we begin an adult life with approximately the same number of neurons in the brain, about 86 billion, but it is the changing synaptic connectivity that matters; unfortunately, sometimes, at the end of life, we hardly recognize one another.

Happiness is an outflow/outcome/emergence of achieving a state of optimized health through living with principles of life.

The logic of connecting the ‘state of democracy’ to the ‘state of health’ is contained in a question: Can anyone make healthy/optimizing decisions for a society, when they cannot make healthy decisions for their own body? Health requires decisions that optimize your physique, your biologic system, with every step you take and every morsel that you consume; it is an ongoing judgement-full effort. The morbidities that individuals suffer from, have correlates in ‘morbidities’ of the society, such as discord, riots, deception, etc.; one can only look at the major prevalence of, for example, obesity and all the related metabolic diseases; in a society, all unhealthy states parallel with the major prevalence of non-optimizing societal decisions; the connection is inescapable.

Not all societies express collective intelligence, understood as the ‘ability to solve problems previously not encountered’; intelligence represents the foundation of living systems’ sustainable health, from cells to societies; this capacity governs their adaptation and evolution, seen in growth, repair, regeneration, reproduction, etc.; all these capacities are based on activation of sensory processing; when cognitive perception is engaged in healthy individuals, societies or cultural clusters, it creates the state of perceptional reality of the whole that make choices in harmony with rationality and responsibility; the level of intelligence is related to the richness of learned internal language, the language of thoughts/dreams, which allows for new and original thoughts, analogies, contextuality, inference, etc., all potentially leading to creativity/innovation; health-intelligence-innovation are all inter-related in a dependent fashion.

4.4. Systems Science View on Health

Relationship with self, determines who we are and how we relate to others; it is triggered by our decisions, which shape our behavior and lifestyle in an ongoing cycle, reflecting our evolving cognitive and epigenetic memories; health, within this framework, represents a global measure of cognitive as well as physical fitness, one that create our intellect and the ultimate epigenetically-driven morphology. Health is the primary responsibility of each individual; only health care can be provided by others; health care, however, is not synonymous with health. A society is healthy only when individuals are healthy.

Human creation is a transgenerational evolutionary momentum of ‘pluses and minuses’ imprinted on an epigenetic memory of individuals, shared during reproduction and subsequent immersion in a modifying culture, all taking place during the first, the ancestral phase of life, spanning the initial 25 years; this new generation has the potential to change its epigenetic heredity during subsequent 25 years of adulthood, the decision phase of life, through their own lifestyle choice that modify, positively or negatively, the inherited epigenome that they will share during reproduction.

The recorded evidence of diminishing life expectancy since 2010 is of profound societal concern, because it is the outcome of unhealthy decisions (suicide, drug overdose, violence, etc.) and their consequences, occurring concurrently during the same time period, the second phase of life; historically, human consequences of unhealthy decisions usually became evident as ‘age-related diseases’, in the third phase of life, after about the age of 50, about two decades following the lifestyle choices. The current adult generation, with already shortened life expectancy also has poorer health than previous generations in the same second phase of life, which represents the labor force, the societal engine of economic growth and the source of most of government’s revenue; with such changes in demographics, government will see diminishing revenues and further increases in health care spending.

4.5. Systems Science View on Pandemic

Resiliency, per systems science, requires redundancy; in a biologic system, each redundancy represents a healthy unit of the larger system, e.g. cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, etc.; deficiencies of some parts, may still be compatible with life but they indicate a fragile living system. A comparison can be made to a ship that is still sailing on a calm sea with some ‘patched up’ holes in its hull, from previous ‘junkets’, but it will unlikely survive a storm. The 2020 pandemic was such a tempest to an already fragile individual and societal health as well as its democratic institutions; any excess mortality and/or failed democratic components, reflect the weakened overall societal resiliency from diminished or already absent individual redundancy.

The pandemic was less then about the initial virulence of the virus than about the massively unhealthy hosts, the global population, and viruses attached themselves to the spiraling decline of health of individuals; indeed, a healthy adult should be put on an ‘endangered species list’; adverse/unhealthy life style, causing declining life expectancy, has been in evidence since about 2010, even in lagging statistical indicators. 13

With 2 billion people, including 200 million children worldwide, who have unhealthy weight and are living with metabolic diseases, the downward trend in life expectancy will continue for years to come, inviting other pathogens to assert their replication dominance.

Pandemic highlighted not only the turmoil in societal health and health care, but its negative impact on democracy with multiple lockdowns, congressional disharmony, social distancing, travel curtailments, etc.

Almost all reported deaths from COVID-19 pandemic, were among unhealthy people, those with numerous comorbidities, and in spite of the fact that many were previously treated for them. Healthy individuals, with optimized immune systems, even if colonized, clear viruses rapidly; systems science indicates that ‘errors in a healthy system are quickly cleared’. Unhealthy immune system often evolves into autoimmunity, a chronic system over-activation and misdirection of impact; such a process is diverse in terms of intensity and selection of target cells, allowing a virus to mutate to correspondingly diverse forms, further eluding and persisting in a given immune system; in view of the fact that the prevalence of unhealthy immunity in a society has hugely increased in recent years, and giving the virus innumerable options to interact and modify self in incalculable mutations, makes any virus very unpredictable in virulence and spread/contagion; creating vaccines and antibody treatments are likely to be far from reaching their optimal goals.

Patients with severe infection of COVID-19 showed higher ‘viral loads’ in their blood as well as elevated inflammatory markers and loss of functional balancing relationship among key immune cells (T-cells vs. NK-cells), indicating handicapped immune system that responded to a virus in suboptimal and skewed way.

Pre-existing unhealthy lifestyle was the common denominator in the pandemic, demonstrating significant immune system deficiency, among the majority of severely ill patients; vitamin D insufficiency was a common denominator among those critically ill with cytokine storms. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

5. Results / Conclusions

Any society, a country or a cultural cluster, is simply a sub-system of the larger ecosystem of Nature, organized for life, with defined principles and laws; people represent one of innumerable species with special human characteristics of structure and function; and, human body represents a biologic system with capacities for repair, regeneration, and reproduction, where offsprings have similarities, refined by the creative evolutionary process to maximize participation in Life; at the beginning of each new creation, embryonal development reflects transgenerational epigenomic instructions transformed into existential physical realities: from a fusion of parental genetic codes, a new lifeform emerges anywhere on this planet with full equality in structure; the ‘stage’ is set for life and the gift of physical sameness awaits then the fulfilment of personal functional potentialities, based largely on the evolving perceptional reality that is as different as our thoughts.

Living a healthy life recapitulates consequences of healthy decisions. The significance of a collective healthy life is that all other societal conflicts, such as failing democracy, human rights, sustainability, etc. will have harmonious emergence as a proof of wide-ranging but optimizing decisions; such choices create a living societal system that is based on organized complexity as an outcome of healthy self-organization of members; only such a path leads to value creation. Until then, no amount of health care, no amount of legislative power and money, will accomplish any of the societal desires; a state of health rests on our individual shoulders and, in an aggregate, builds societal health. Health care can only manage morbidities; it cannot provide health and longevity, which have to be the outcome of individual efforts of life-long fitness; collectively that may result in better societal health.

Life is movement and intensity, a non-equilibrium state that require a proof of daily fitness; health and democracy have the same requirements; embrace such a program and pandemics will not reach your shores. Viruses cannot be eliminated from their global presence, they are part of the ecosystem; only the fitness of the hosts can be improved; no vaccine will do that; but, nation’s health begins with an individual health, the primary defender against pathogens. Viewed in this light, the pandemic of 2020 was less about the ‘virus’ per se and more about the ‘receptive audience’ that it found. Probability estimate favors the odds of a healthy person making other optimizing decisions for self and others, based on perceptional reality that is in synch with principles and rhythm of life; vice versa is true as well. During a time of epidemics/pandemics, systems science anticipates that a healthy biologic system will rapidly clear pathogens and return to a state of health.

History should be remembered, not judged, as it was lived within then-dominant perceptional reality; we all would want our lives to be viewed in the same light, with understanding of the dominant historic contextuality that helped to ‘code’/create, our perceptional reality; re-writing history is meaningless as it is not how history ever lived. Decisions are always binary, either in synch with life’s principles or not; the consequences are simply awaiting as ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’.

Any nation’s democracy depends on its population’s health, which depends of individual decisions and their ownership of consequences; in such a sequence lies the type of life that everyone desire but only few earn, as that need fitness of ‘mind and body’; but fitness cannot be inherited, legislated, purchased or delegated to a surrogate; it is an individual journey and health is its emergence/outcome. Education cannot fix it, only learning can, based on a tight/chain-link/inseparable connection between decisions and consequences.

The ‘decisions-consequences learning loop’ is the bedrock of individual health as well as viable and sustainable democracy in a society; all decisions should be subject to the litmus test of relevancy to health. Life used to permit a long delay between unhealthy decisions and consequences, reflected in life expectancy; that no longer exists; what used to be a span of couple of decades, is, since 2010, at the ‘front door’; the impact on democracy may already be here. No new laws are needed to reverse this trend, only a life, within the existential laws of Nature, is required. [Figure 5a]

Consequences are consequential – systems science prescient early warnings: Life is studied as a multisensory physicality based on relationships: 1-with self (reflected in a state of personal health); 2-attachment to dominant attractors of either power, (observed in changes of margin rate in financial markets, gross domestic product (GDP) vs. debt, and public disclosures of financial/sexual/religious inappropriateness) or despair (reflected in suicide rate); and, 3-relationship with the world (mirroring relationship with self).

Missed warning signals of approaching societal trials and tribulations – the list is long: starting in 1990’s, with obesity surpassing smoking and accelerating M1 money supply, many other negative indicators became clearly visible by 2010: the decline in life expectancy, increase in suicides, vanishing surplus of GDP over public debt, decline of societal trust (as all public debt started to be based on already existing debt and not on credit), and now a hyperinflationary M1; the pandemic could not have been far behind. [Figure 5b-e]

Loss of collective intelligence is existentially consequential to any society as rationality and responsibility vanish; such a ‘tipping point’, in chaos theory parlance, indicates that any phase of societal development has run its course and must reverse into contraction before any healthy recovery can be anticipated.

Nature continues its adaptation and evolution, leaving behind its principles by which all of its components, including humans, must live. Current global issues are often listed as ‘climate change, natural disaster, pandemic, inequality and unemployment, etc.’; the primary etiology in all such problems, however, lies not with the ecology but with humans due to their non-optimizing decisions and subsequent consequences, all stemming from unhealthy societies; achieving dominance of individual health is a good start; the ‘global challenges’ will then resolve.

There is a silver lining, thought, to the above exposés: The sun will rise tomorrow, also the birds will sing, and Beethoven’s 9th will be just as beautiful as always.

Notes

This manuscript is an outflow of previous publications, all in Open Access journals that allow the author to retain copyright for text, figures, tables, under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Some images are reproduced from Google Images, within the Section 107 of the Copyright Act …. for nonprofit educational purposes and are accompanied by links; author gratefully acknowledges their credit.

In addition to the references listed below, further research data are available at http://seekingalpha.com/user/139406/instablogs.

The authors has no competing interests.

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[6]  Perna, L.W, and Tierney, W.G, We need you to revive democracy, Univ World News, Mar 21, 2021. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20210315125752254.
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[7]  Editors, SeekingAlpha, Corporate America is emerging as an increasingly dominant political force. https://seekingalpha.com/market-news/wall-street-breakfast Mar 11’21.
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[8]  Von Bertalanffy, L. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications, New York: George Braziller, 1969.
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[9]  Bill Bryson, B, The Body, Doubleday, New York, NY, 2019.
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[10]  Perrin, A and Atske, S, About three-in-ten U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online. Pew Research, Mar 26, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/03/26/about-three-in-ten-u-s-adults-say-they-are-almost-constantly-online/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=3dda4f6f5f-Weekly_2021_03_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-3dda4f6f5f-401029614.
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[11]  Janecka, I.P, Sensory Processing and Systems Science: There Is More Than Meets the Eye. Am J of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, 2015, pp. 117-139.
In article      
 
[12]  Tuominen, J, Kallio, S, Kaasinen, V, Railo, H, Segregated brain state during hypnosis. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2021 (1).
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[13]  Redfield, R.R, CDC Director’s Media Statement on U.S. Life Expectancy, CDC Media, Nov 29, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/s1129-US-life-expectancy.html.
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[14]  Saul, L, Mair, I, Ivens, A, Brown, P, Samuel, K, Campbell, J.D.M, Soong, D.Y, et al. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Restrains CD4 T Cell Priming Ability of CD11c Dendritic Cells by Upregulating Expression of CD31. Frontiers in Immunology, 2019; 10. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190417111440.htm.
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[15]  Maghbooli Z, Sahraian M.A, Ebrahimi M, Pazoki M, Kafan S, Tabriz H.M, et al. (2020) Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection. 2020 PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239799.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[16]  Daneshkhah, A, Agrawal, V, Eshein, A, Subramanian, H, Roy, H.K, Backman, V. The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients. medRxiv, April 30, 2020; https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.08.20058578v3.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Ilie, P.C, Stefanescu, S, Smith, L. The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 2020; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507131012.htm.
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[18]  Kurniawan, H, Franchina, D, Guerra, G, Bonetti, L, Soriano-Baguet, L, Grusdat, M, Schlicker, L, et al. Glutathione Restricts Serine Metabolism to Preserve Regulatory T Cell Function. Cell Metabolism, 2020; 31 (5): 920. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507094809.htm.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2021 Ivo P. Janecka

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Normal Style
Ivo P. Janecka. Democracy is Failing, Health of Nations is Failing, and Pandemic is Raging: Systems Science Exposés. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 9, No. 5, 2021, pp 300-312. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/9/5/8
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Janecka, Ivo P.. "Democracy is Failing, Health of Nations is Failing, and Pandemic is Raging: Systems Science Exposés." American Journal of Educational Research 9.5 (2021): 300-312.
APA Style
Janecka, I. P. (2021). Democracy is Failing, Health of Nations is Failing, and Pandemic is Raging: Systems Science Exposés. American Journal of Educational Research, 9(5), 300-312.
Chicago Style
Janecka, Ivo P.. "Democracy is Failing, Health of Nations is Failing, and Pandemic is Raging: Systems Science Exposés." American Journal of Educational Research 9, no. 5 (2021): 300-312.
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  • Figure 5a. Repeating but accelerating cycles of unhealthy choices and consequential diseases (modified from various sources/estimates)
  • Figure 5b. Left image - prevalence of smoking (blue) and lung cancer (red); peak to peak – 26 years. Right – decline in smoking matched by rise in obesity
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[5]  Pew Research Center, Weekly Roundup, January 29, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/?utm_source=pew%20research%20center&utm_campaign=d3d8646507-weekly_2021_01_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-d3d8646507-401029614.
In article      
 
[6]  Perna, L.W, and Tierney, W.G, We need you to revive democracy, Univ World News, Mar 21, 2021. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20210315125752254.
In article      
 
[7]  Editors, SeekingAlpha, Corporate America is emerging as an increasingly dominant political force. https://seekingalpha.com/market-news/wall-street-breakfast Mar 11’21.
In article      
 
[8]  Von Bertalanffy, L. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications, New York: George Braziller, 1969.
In article      
 
[9]  Bill Bryson, B, The Body, Doubleday, New York, NY, 2019.
In article      
 
[10]  Perrin, A and Atske, S, About three-in-ten U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online. Pew Research, Mar 26, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/03/26/about-three-in-ten-u-s-adults-say-they-are-almost-constantly-online/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=3dda4f6f5f-Weekly_2021_03_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-3dda4f6f5f-401029614.
In article      
 
[11]  Janecka, I.P, Sensory Processing and Systems Science: There Is More Than Meets the Eye. Am J of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, 2015, pp. 117-139.
In article      
 
[12]  Tuominen, J, Kallio, S, Kaasinen, V, Railo, H, Segregated brain state during hypnosis. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2021 (1).
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[13]  Redfield, R.R, CDC Director’s Media Statement on U.S. Life Expectancy, CDC Media, Nov 29, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/s1129-US-life-expectancy.html.
In article      
 
[14]  Saul, L, Mair, I, Ivens, A, Brown, P, Samuel, K, Campbell, J.D.M, Soong, D.Y, et al. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Restrains CD4 T Cell Priming Ability of CD11c Dendritic Cells by Upregulating Expression of CD31. Frontiers in Immunology, 2019; 10. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190417111440.htm.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[15]  Maghbooli Z, Sahraian M.A, Ebrahimi M, Pazoki M, Kafan S, Tabriz H.M, et al. (2020) Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection. 2020 PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239799.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[16]  Daneshkhah, A, Agrawal, V, Eshein, A, Subramanian, H, Roy, H.K, Backman, V. The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients. medRxiv, April 30, 2020; https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.08.20058578v3.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Ilie, P.C, Stefanescu, S, Smith, L. The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 2020; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507131012.htm.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[18]  Kurniawan, H, Franchina, D, Guerra, G, Bonetti, L, Soriano-Baguet, L, Grusdat, M, Schlicker, L, et al. Glutathione Restricts Serine Metabolism to Preserve Regulatory T Cell Function. Cell Metabolism, 2020; 31 (5): 920. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507094809.htm.
In article      View Article  PubMed