It sometimes happens that a group of people, or a group of groups of people, become aware of themselves as "a thing."
That is, people look to the people on their left, they look to the people on their right, and then realize: "Whoah! We're a thing. We're a society. We're a group. We have a social identity. We're something."
We could say: "The society became self-aware."
Collecting from Trickles
There must have been some point, in the 1960's, where people realized: "Oh, this is the Age of Aquarius." Or: "We are the 60's."
There was likely a trickle here, a trickle there, another trickle over there, and it all came together into a large stream, and then the streams became a big river.
Those little trickles, from so many places, where did they come from? They came in response to the Times. It wasn't planned, it wasn't coordinated, it wasn't intended; It just emerged, from all these places. The Times were different, the ideas were right, the kinder was present, there were sources of sparks, and kablooey, it just happened.
And then there was a social self-awareness. "Ah, we are that." The social identity, or "group identity," or whatever we want to call it, was realized, by many many individuals.
Right now, there are a number of threads at work in society. What are they? Are they threads? A stream? A river?
Many of us on this wiki here believe that social technology is going to add another layer to this whole thing, by making societies, which are presently largely invisible creatures, into manifest creatures.