Growth Online
Human Choice: The Ultimate Determinant
in Society's Development

Articles

by Roy Posner


At its deepest level the process of growth and development is rooted in the idea that a society or an individual can rise to any level aspired to. We call this idea Human Choice. While greater opportunities, awareness, improved skills, greater knowledge, and other factors are part of a process that enables a society or an individual to rise to higher levels of achievement, it is the choice to rise to a higher level that is the ultimate determinant.

By making this conscious choice to move to the next level of success, happiness, and achievement, the society or individual dramatically accelerates the process of development and evolution. Just as an individual's choice to rise to the next level can enable that person to achieve in a matter of months what may have normally taken a lifetime, so too society's choice to move to a higher level enables it to accomplished in months or a few years what would have normally taken decades or even centuries. The choice to elevate to the next level by following the process of growth and development as outlined at this site is one of the great secrets of life.

Let's review a few examples from two very different parts of the world that demonstrate the power of human choice in society.

Freedom and Choice in India
The power of human choice is dramatically demonstrated by the Indian freedom movement. It was not the power of arms or revolution that drove the British out of India. It was the power of choice. When India’s leaders decided the country must be free and succeeded in convincing the people to will and work for it, there was no force on earth strong enough to keep the country under foreign rule. India was freed by the collective decision of its people.

Imperialism has given way to democracy in India. Freedom of choice for all is guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the land. But that does not mean everyone exercises that freedom or that they exercise it at the highest level for their own best interests. In India the government guarantees every child the right to education, but not all parents choose to send their child to school, not every child chooses to study hard, and not every student that studies chooses to think for themselves, which is the greatest benefit of education.

If every Indian citizen chose to take full advantage of the enormous range of opportunities afforded by the current atmosphere of freedom—to learn, teach, think, invent, produce and achieve all that he or she is capable of—then poverty will soon be a thing of the past in this country. Eradication of poverty is a necessary achievement and the sooner the better. But it is far too limited and humble a goal for a great nation with such rich intellectual, social and natural resources. The best choice for India today is the choice for prosperity. That choice can abridge decades of progress into a few short years. The commitment of the individual and the collective to this choice will bring out the best in the nation and raise it to its rightful place at the head of the world community.



New Forms of Organization Accelerates Individual Choice
We have also noticed that the power of human choice has accelerated in the mental stage of social evolution. It has even begun to take new and unusual forms of organization. Organizational authority is shifting from overseeing managers and traditional pecking orders to decentralized, ever shifting teams where individuals or groups of individuals make the important decisions. In some cases organization management itself is simply put "in the hands of" standard operating procedures and systems, giving individuals more freedom to take initiatives and make decisions. Under these conditions freedom, initiative, and imagination shift from the collective to individuals, singularly, or in ever-changing teams and alliances, having the effect of expanding exponentially the range of individual choices

This expansion of individual choices through decentralized, non-authoritarian organization is also mirrored in the opposite direction, i.e. in the influence of individuals on the needs of the collective. With the "nobody-in-charge system" each specialist is no longer just responsible for being right about his/her own specialty but responsible also for the general sense of direction and the outcome of the needs of the organization/collective as a whole.

 

Role Of Society in Human Choice
Then what is the role of society in encouraging and developing human choice? Modern democratic societies rely on the power of education and the media to get the word around about what problems we collectively face, and what opportunities are there if we pursue them together. Those societies whose citizens are encouraged to engage in the fullest and most enlightened exercise of choice will have the greatest potential for development.


FURTHER READING:

For a detailed paper on the role of human choice in social development, click here. (MSS)

RELATED TOPICS

  • For a discussion on how individual companies can energize and empower their employees, click here.

  • For a discussion on how individuals grow and develop, click here.


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