Monday, March 02, 2009

What now?

It does seem like the world is falling apart. We have global warming, combined with a drought and our financial system seems ready to collapse. These seem to be completely unrelated but they might be wholly connected in that they are a product of a world disconnected from the reality of it's day to day and a love of abstraction.

We create environmental systems of combustion where we look at 50 - 100 year spans and say, that it's possible to live the way we do, but the model breaks down at year 110. We think in terms of building farms that rely on good weather all the time, when the world has had periods of extreme weather changes such as ice ages, desert seasons that lasted for millennia? And we create economic models where people are perfectly rational and we know what's happened before. An all these have failed.


I think it's because that the assumption is that the world can be understood in clean clear ways, that equations if complex enough can work out the messiness. But perhaps the messiness is not noise, but the data. And if we start asking ourselves if noise is normal, then how do we adjust. But that fails, it's not about adjusting because that implies transition from one phase to another. It's time to embrace the messiness, the suddenness and build our actions around that.

Control in chaos or control is chaos. Maybe that's what's next.


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