nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,
nancylebov
nancylebov

If not optimization, then what?

stoutfellow just recommended The Collapse of Complex Societies, a book with the premise that complex societies collapse because they have to add complexity to respond to new challenges, but returns to additional complexity keep getting smaller. I wonder if part of the reason is that old complexity generally [1] doesn't go away, even when the challenge it was added to address is gone.

And that amazon link led me to The Health of Nations, which seems to say that corporations and governments are both sociopathic, and we need some other way of organizing ourselves which is respectful of actual live people.

Anyway, I'm so used to the idea that what you do on the large scale if you have knowledge and power is that you try to optimize something that I'm mulling what an advanced non-optimizing society would look like. And I'm reminded of a bit from Gregory Bateson that ecologies don't try to maximize any single factor, but people make the mistake of believing that more money is always better.

Anyway, I'm not sure what a non-optimizing society would look like, though possibly some anarchists have ideas on the subject.

I considered calling this post "Null-O", but I don't think enough of my readers know of William Tenn's excellent "Null-P", a story about non-Platonic government-- that is, government based on finding the most average leader rather than the best. Now that I think about it, it's a story of the failure of optimization.....

[1] The end of segregation would count as eliminating a chunk of complexity, I think.
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