Lyon welcomed famed French philosopher and sociologist Edgar Morin to the Theatre des Celestins yesterday evening, and Cosmo Tech’s team was present to hear one of the renowned thinkers in complexity science offer his ideas live and in-person. Cosmo Tech co-founders Michel Morvan and Hugues de Bantel were both present for the event as well as ‘Cosmonauts’ from the marketing, delivery, and development teams.

The theme of the evening, as ever for Morin, equal parts intriguing, provocative, and thought-provoking. The talk, ‘Re-founding political thought in France’, was delivered in the context of a nation, region, and world in a state of change. Old systems are failing, old traditions are falling, and polities from across the world are voting for change. The challenge in this political context is reestablishing a common foundation on which to build a strong and durable socio-political system.

Morin explained how political systems are fundamentally complex systems. Not only do the individuals within the system have an impact on the society they live in, but the society they create has an impact on those very same individuals. It is impossible to understand all the complexity of a political system by having perfect information about the individuals in that system, or by having perfect knowledge of the society. Predicting the future state of the polity is impossible, and theorising it is equally difficult without returning to first principles. For Morin, these first principles of any political thought come down to two things: the theorist’s conception of the human, and their understanding, knowledge, and interpretation of history. Depending on how these are defined and explained, a nation’s political system will range from fascist to communist and the fate of citizen in that nation from free to enchained.

Now aged 96 years, Morin spoke to a full house at the Theatre des Celestins and continues to attract large crowds at his regular appearances across France, and Europe.

Image by David Monniaux, used under CC-SA license.

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