The Time-Space-Technics (TST) model helps make sense of historical change.

Human societies are systems with definable boundaries, structures, and processes. Like weather systems, societal systems have chaotic dynamics that develop and change within predictable parameters. The TST model developed by Alastair M. Taylor applies evolutionary systems theory to the historical development of societies. It creates a unique typology by classifying societies as open systems equilibrating with their natural environments in a hierarchy of levels of organization. In doing so, it identifies an evolutionary sequence of world-views: Mythos, Theos, Logos, and Holos.

A society’s environmental control capability determines its potential structural complexity. But societies that are structurally more complex are not intrinsically better than less complex societies in terms of satisfying basic human needs. Every societal system is organized by a dominant world-view, which must be functional in terms of the system’s interaction with its environment. TST explains the factors that cause societal systems to change and eventually either collapse or evolve. The course of human history displays major quantum shifts in societal organization, correlated with the emergence of new paradigms of reality. Application of this systems model in our present era makes it possible to identify issues that constitute bifurcation points ahead. Those issues challenge humanity to avoid environmental and societal collapse. Conversely, proactive measures can attain a new level of planetary organization and integration, with its unique world-view.

Introduction to Time-Space-Technics

The main concepts of TST are presented in graphic form.

Brief graphic overview of societal evolution

Longer graphic presentation

TST: An Evolutionary Model of Societies and World-views

This article describes the TST model of the historical development of societal systems, and summarizes the principal features of the four historical world-views: Mythos, Theos, Logos, and Holos.

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Four Sonnets by Alastair Taylor

TST shows the influence of an eclectic range of thinkers in diverse fields, yet fashions a unique perspective. While Alastair Taylor occasionally drew on the general systems theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy and company, TST remains distinctive for the emphasis it places on quantitative and qualitative breaks between systems at different levels of complexity, for the respective roles in societal evolution that it assigns to what it calls material and societal technics, and for the importance that it assigns to characteristic world-views in shaping and maintaining these systems in their interactions with their natural environments. In these respects some affinity may be discerned with dialectical and historical materialism, though it should be noted that – with the exceptions of V. Gordon Childe and Joseph Needham – Marxist thinkers had little influence on TST.

The Nature of History

In the 20th century, dialectical materialism and general systems theory attempted, each in its own way, to understand human societies as components of a hierarchy of systems processing energy and evolving according to laws of nature. While the two philosophies of nature have much in common, general systems theory is essentially a philosophy of evolution, while dialectical materialism is one in which evolution is the complementary aspect of revolution, or radical system transformation.

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