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Humanity have evolved from the physical to the vital stage of development and is now entering the mental stage in social evolution. This evolution has been accomplished by the progressive development of more productive, efficient and complex social organizations. At the same time, the nature of the predominant organizations also evolves from physical to vital to mental. Each transition from one stage to another results in a tremendous increase in social productivity by several orders of magnitude. An examination of the role of organization in each of the three stages reveals the source of this phenomenal increase in the capabilities of society. Urbanization played a predominant role in social evolution during the physical stage. Money has been the pre-eminent institution of the vital stage. Today the Internet is emerging as the archetypal organization of the mental stage.
Development can be likened to a chemical reaction. The speed and outcome of the reaction depends on the concentration of ingredients, the temperature and pressure, and the presence of catalytic agents. These elements determine the frequency, intensity and efficiency of contact between the substrates. The greater the concentration, temperature and pressure, the faster the molecules move and the more frequently and forcefully they interact with each other. The presence of the appropriate catalyst speeds the reaction between compatible substances by serving as a medium for bringing the substrates into proximity over a larger area. Development also depends on the speed, frequency, intensity and breadth of contacts and interactions. Social institutions act as powerful stimuli for development by increasing the number, frequency and intensity of interactions between compatible elements.