I want to write this post, which assuredly most people will dismiss out of hand. This is my explanation of why I think Peace is possible and the fall of civilizations remedied. I’ve been an adherent of a “God does not give us impossible missions belief” my entire life. I believe God gave us FREE WILL. We can choose to do or not to do, to soar or to sit on our butts whining that life isn’t fair and wait for others to do for us. We can choose to live in FEAR or we can dare to stand up and say, “I don’t care if that’s the way it’s always been, I am going to think for myself and see if I can think, invent, build something better.”
As far as I can tell, the only human unit that is vital is the husband/wife combo, because without them reproducing , the human race will perish. For a child to survive, requires both the mother and father. Of course, living in groups – the “it takes a village” idea, definitely makes it much easier for humans to flourish. So, most people live in groups.
I like to analyze systems, even though I have had no formal training to do this. One of my sons works for a large aircraft manufacturer as a software engineer. He tells me about his travels to go diagnose and fix problems for customers, whose planes have something not working right.
Now, imagine if their planes had some fatal flaw where, say, inexplicably their most popular deluxe model of planes started suffering engine failure after hitting around the 20,000 mile mark. The company would not accept the 20,000 mile failure of their planes nor would they want to have to rebuild engines, over and over or replace the ones that died. They would send someone to do a systems analysis and try to detect what design flaws or equipment failure are leading to this problem.
I never accepted either the “belief” that civilizations are doomed to this endless “rise and fall” cycle, nor do I wander off into utopian pipe dreams. My observation is that civilizations are built and deconstructed by man, just like planes – they are a man-made invention. We find on earth some societies that remained content to settle for living in small groups and fighting to survive at bare subsistence level. Others seek to live in a fancier deluxe model grouping, thus the most advanced civilizations are built to please those customers. These deluxe model civilizations rely on several complex sub-systems to operate.
My mother used to get frustrated with my unwillingness to accept answers that began with, “that’s the way it’s always been”. Accepting that premise dooms us to wasting a lot of, not only material wealth, but more importantly human lives and potential (often large portions of an entire generation), because lots of people perish when we have multiple sub-set systems failures.
So, far we’ve got most of the best geopolitical systems analysts (world leaders, scholars, statesmen, soldiers) not working on finding ways to fix the multiple, simultaneous, sub-system failures that lead to a collapse of a civilization. They study the various sub-set systems and do some disparate diagnostics, then shrug and say, that’s just how civilizations are – “they rise and they fall”. Some try to design quick-fix patches. Some recoil in fear and are content to be passive spectators to the collapse and murmur, “It’s always been that way”. Brilliant geopolitics experts, almost to a man, say “that’s the way it’s always been and I have seen nothing in history to indicate it can ever change.” Of course, if you accept it can’t change, very few people will even bother trying to change it.
In fact, they invariably insist that when one of those sub-set systems, one intended to safeguard the entire system, runs amok and helps destroy most of the frame and body of the entire civilization, we’re just supposed to accept that these most complex advanced civilizations have some fatal flaw – it’s either that’s how God made the world, accept it, quit being a daydreamer and shut up about “utopias”.
I refuse to accept that belief. I believe that if we build it, we can always improve on the design and come up with better sub-systems to build a newer, better performing model. If your best systems analysts don’t ever even really try to find the design flaws and fix them, but instead wander off, halfheartedly fixing, only bits and pieces of some of the sub-system design flaws, of course the system will continue to reach the point where these sub-systems start falling apart and down the chute into the dustbin of history goes all that work that went into it. In the process usually many, many people perish, because most of these sub-set failures happen in midair, resulting in spectacular crashes, although some do implode and burn slowly on the runway too, so to speak. Cleaning up the wreckage from civilizational collapses can take centuries, sometimes those people that survive don’t even bother, they wander off into the wilderness.
The known history of man provides us a great deal of information to study the various sub-sets, how they work together, which models work better and the flaws in the various systems. For instance, we know that in governmental systems there are good kings and bad kings, dependent on one thing – the king. For that system to work long term, relies on the accident of birth and hoping the genetic lottery of life works favorably for your kingdom, because all it takes to wreck a good kingdom is one bad king.
Others, say, in America, sat down and studied history and analyzed government systems throughout history and tried to select components that would provide a safeguard against the one bad king, as they had just got done ditching one of those bad draws in the genetic pool kind of kings. In America, some men gathered together and said, even though no one in the known history of man has tried this first, we are FREE to come up with a better system. We started with the premise that ALL MEN ARE FREE and constructed a governmental system that we thought would best safeguard individual freedom. Many people in the world get sick of hearing Americans blabber on about our Constitution. Lots of countries have constitutions, but none of them starts with the bedrock BELIEFS that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL and ALL MEN ARE FREE.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, we tried to transplant democracy, but democracy isn’t what leads to a better life for people; FREEDOM does. A Constitution is just a piece of paper. Napoleon was one of the world’s premiere constitution writers in history. As soon as Napoleon conquered a place, he wrote another constitution for those conquered people to obey. Selecting a good governmental system, in my opinion, is the most important sub-system in a group’s organizational structure, because that sub-system determines how well any other component sub-systems you design will work. We shouldn’t be telling the world that democracy makes us different, we should teach the world that the BELIEF IN INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM does.
Many other governmental systems work, and all governments are subject to engine failure (where America is at now) and a host of other sub-system failures, because any government relies on many other complex sub-systems to work too, just as civilizations do. Being willing to do the diagnostics and taking the corrective actions to prevent a total breakdown determines the fate of more complex groups, who rely on a more advanced organizational structure than a simple group, like a tribe or religious commune.
My son recently lamented to me that he doesn’t understand why some, way more experienced, software engineers he knows settle for creating sort of patches to fix problems, instead of trying to figure out what’s causing the problem to occur in the first place and fix that. He asked why people are like that and I told him, that in my opinion, lots of people prefer to take the easiest road – believe me, growing up in PA, our pothole-patched roads attest to that. Because throwing a patch on is easier than repairing the entire road. And I should know, because my father built roads for a living.
5 responses to “If we build it; we can fix it”
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