Archive for September 2021

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Charles Dickens’ immortal phrase portrays a time of radical opposites taking place at the same time in a 1859 historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities. set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution.  Are we at a similar time of radical contrasts?  Are similar consequences likely? Current technology and economic trends […]

Who Wants to Change?

What would you like to change?  Your eating habits and weight?  Your exercise habits and fitness?  Your salary and financial situation?  What about your opinions.  How about your fundamental beliefs?  It is much easier to avoid eating fried foods than to avoid flawed thinking.  Entertaining evidence that shows your opinions and beliefs to be simply […]

Failures of Complex Societies

Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge University Press, 1988) and Jared Diamond in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004) provide compelling evidence for how complex societies fail.  I am not going to rigorously follow their analyses.  However, I am going to leverage their insights into the sources of […]

Complex Societies

Our society is amazingly complex.  It serves an enormous number of purposes.  An overarching goal is to persist.  Without persistence, society could not serve all its other purposes.  However, these purposes often compete and conflict for attention and resources.  I have spent much time trying to improve defense systems from my commissioning as an Air […]