24 July 2018

Incrementalism has limits

There's a natural desire to not change too quickly; it's unpredictable and unpredictable is risky.

You can't get off a local maximum gradually.  People won't stand for it; stuff gets worse, and keeps getting worse, and now you want it to stay worse?  Why don't we just go back up there?

Breaking agriculture doesn't just take the peak off the local maximum; it disposes of the entire rise under the local maximum.  And it disposes of the entire rise into an ecologically damaged world with a carrying capacity way under a billion humans.

(Is there there another local maximum?  Maybe.  We'd have to go look.  We'd have to go look on the "every nerve and sinew" level.)

Thing is, people know this is in general.  If you say "we should organize society by some means other than patriarchy", and you're speaking to practical people who aren't in the habit of abstracting anything, you're heard to say "there should be no male judges for at least the next hundred years".  Anybody male who wants to be a judge is immediately opposed.  (Never mind the people who figure you're trying to put them into the category of those who may be licitly coerced into sex.)  This is why you get such violent swing-back from any increase in social generality; the hierarchy re-asserts itself.  The system exists to stick to that local maximum.

Sometimes, yes, it gets replaced with something else.  This is usually associated with cities reduced to rubble and a tenth or more of the population dying.

This time, the local maximum kills everybody.  It would be good to go find another where all might live.

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