Why the demise of civilisation may be inevitable

… or seems to do so …

Published on Detainees, by Debora MacKenzie in New Scientist, April 2008.

… From the moment our ancestors started to settle down and build cities, we have had to find solutions to the problems that success brings. “For the past 10,000 years, problem solving has produced increasing complexity in human societies,” says Joseph Tainter, an archaeologist at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and author of the 1988 book The Collapse of Complex Societies …

… To keep growing, societies must keep solving problems as they arise. Yet each problem solved means more complexity. Success generates a larger population, more kinds of specialists, more resources to manage, more information to juggle – and, ultimately, less bang for your buck …

… A networked society behaves like a multicellular organism,” says Bar-Yam, “random damage is like lopping a chunk off a sheep.” Whether or not the sheep survives depends on which chunk is lost. And while we are pretty sure which chunks a sheep needs, it isn’t clear – it may not even be predictable – which chunks of our densely networked civilisation are critical, until it’s too late … and so on

(My comment: very interesting article, but going not further than the mainstream allows. My opposition comes with a reflection I made for myself since decades: what is described here is correct as long as you are in a hierarchically managed society. What if you would look at a huge complexity, working perfectly like our own physical body does … just look how it is managed: there are countless section that have been subdivided and thus they are making their work without any hierarchical superior order, just adapting to situations (unfortunately also to wrong situations … then in holistic medicine this is named illness).

Thus, my statement: if this humanity wants survive, we have to abolish aristocratic, hierarchical management and let … learn! … the subdivisions make their job. Point.

WITH our aristocratic paradigm (the stronger eats the weaker, instead of healing him/her), yes, if we hold on this, then what tells this article will happen. But this will be our choice, our responsibility … our default program running if we do not move the A…

So, stop weeping and let’s do the job).

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