Sunday, November 10, 2013

Systematic Laziness

When I was about eight years old, my family lived in a neighborhood where there were several other kids. We often played outside, or when the weather was bad, we played indoors. At that time of life, we were discovering how easy it is to make up rules or change them to suit immediate needs. For example, when playing kickball, if a tree was in the way, it was easy to redefine the field and just keep playing. Comic books and collector cards become types of currency and we easily contemplated the value of any swap with full awareness.

One of the strange things that happens to adults is this ability becomes dormant. In adult life, people seem to set about trying to maximize perceived gains from the systems they've inherited (or that were imposed on them by force). The received systems and ways of thinking take precedence over ad hoc or invented systems that might better suit particular circumstances. Dependence on existing systems is also driven by laziness (energy minimization) and a pervasive desire to avoid thinking, and faith is placed in what already exists, instead of a new design.

In other cases, painful experience resulting in a general loss of trust in others makes the creation of new systems nearly impossible. That is, people invest a misplaced trust in the creators and beneficiaries of existing systems and distrust in their fellows.

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