Aug 13, 2009

How a System Collapses

My nephew emailed me an insightful comment on the failures of many institutions in our times-- economic, cultural, educational, legal, moral/ethical, etc. How very different and scary is this new world from the one in which I grew up, and I'm not referring to technological change.

When I see another subsystem of civilization breaking down, I know Peter is right.
Everything will happen in concert. The successful compromise of each sub-system provides a cascading "critical mass" that degrades the structural integrity of every remaining sub-system... compromising the macro-system with maximum destruction and the smallest "debris" possible. Being an American is not going to be easy.
A broken-down house is a good example of subsystems failing until the entire house is unlivable. The roof leaks and is not repaired; painting is not done; faucets begin to leak; windows are broken; the grass and trees are not taken care of; etc.

Civilization is the house that needs to be maintained by every generation so that we do not descend into barbarism.

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