PolyDad (polydad) wrote,

A washer for my thoughts?

Okay, I'm up and conscious, and according to the weather report I'm going to mildew today. Forecast is for 90F and 90% humidity.

I'm going to put off summarizing all the "rape" posts, because I have more immediate things that want my attention if I'm going to get Gabe to pennsic. If things get too rushed, I may have to forego BaitCon, and I don't want to do that.

As we've "progressed" as a civilization, we've gotten more and more thoroughly engineered. This means we've learned to make do with the minimum possible amounts of whatever's under discussion at the moment. Which in turn means as things start to break down, they will do so in more and more catastrophic ways, because the *last* time something like whatever-is-under-discussion broke down it was a much sturdier one. And the ancillary resources it relies on are also built thinner, so we'll have things breaking that we didn't expect to break.

Think about the differences between a modern car and an old one. A 1960 Chevy was a big, cumbersome, heavy boat. It also had a huge amount of room and cargo capacity, and had a lot of heavy pieces of metal to bolt things to, and the engine could be fixed by anyone who understood the basic concepts of internal combustion, had a few tools, and was willing to fiddle. Compare that to a 2005 Toyota or Honda. A quarter the mass, technically expected to hold as many bodies, but of much smaller people, and much higher "crash-worthiness" rating. But if the '60 chevy hits the '05 honda, there isn't going to be much left of the honda. And what there is left won't be fixable. The Chevy will be damaged, and some of the passengers may be dead, but a few whangs in the right places with a sledgehammer and we'll be able to use the car.

The above example might turn out to be irrelevant or meaninglessly tangential. Or just plain wrong; the last time I looked in detail at a '60 Chevy was about 1965.

The idea I'm trying to reach for is that the faith-based cultures of the 17th century that gave rise to American culture as we knew it before Ronnie Ray-gun lost his few remaining marbles and left the country to Nancy, her astrologer, and George I had a lot of underlying structure that has been dissolving since then, but we've been so dismissive of the obvious faults of those cultures that we've been tossing babies out with the bathwater. Every time we reach for a cultural value to use as a handhold, it breaks off in our hand, as per the 'over-engineering' concept three paragraphs up.

So if we want to have a culture, we have to figure out what our proper common value structure is, and sort out all those elements we were calling "propriety" back in the rape discusson. Which order decisions get made in is crucial; if we find ourselves obsessing on the propriety of Harry Potter spoilers when we need to be distributing anti-cancer drugs we end up with the next civilization having to wait until the cockroaches evolve up to the point of needing it.

Next topic: Why Management is difficult and vital.

Oh, the title: I think faster than I type, and so connecting bits often get left out when I brainstorm. The washers are to try to keep enough distance between the bits that they don't break each other.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.