For a long time, I have been wondering why so many systems in government, business, and other fields are so broken and dysfunctional. Why they are so far from optimized and let so many people fall through their cracks. I have at last found an explanation.
Firstly, societies are complex adaptive systems: made up of lots of small parts which can change their function and organization to create changes in how the system itself works. It can usually not go back from changes that made and is massively influenced by what happened previously.
Each part is very tightly integrated and interdependent on all the other parts, which makes it very expensive to change. Change is so expensive and hard to do successfully that the system mostly changes only when it is forced to do so by a crisis or emergency. Changing to optimize in anticipation can not be relied on. Especially when further optimization is only obtainable by going in a completely new direction that is mutually exclusive to the current path.
It only makes sense to do major system redesigns when the alternative is total system collapse. If it is not about to collapse, it is cheaper now and over time to postpone the change to the future, where it might turn out to not be necessary anymore.
That’s why so many parts of the system are so broken. The health system still cures many people, enough to allow society to function. The education system still teaches a fair amount of work and education still serves somewhat in doing your job. The political system is slow to adapt to change and inefficient, but for the most part, the trains still run on time and the garbage gets collected.
Only when the system or subsystem is breaking down completely eg. nobody can do the job that they were educated for, will change happen.
This also explains why politicians and other agitators are continuously trying to instill the sense in people that if we do not act now, everything will collapse. A crisis is too good an opportunity to be wasted.
In my own life, I see this phenomenon working as well: I have been meaning to start doing parkour exercises more frequently for a long time now. When I became depressed again, I used it as an opportunity to start doing what I intended. Now I have been doing is for more than a week and it’s going well.
Every crisis is also an opportunity. Do not place your attention on the destructive side of the creative-destructive coin, but rather see how you can create something new and beautiful out of the ashes of the old. If you want to create change in your own life that you have been failing to implement create a crisis or disruption deliberately by moving to a new place, interacting with new people or any behavior that is well out of the ordinary. Do the opposite.
To happiness, and beyond!