Discover more from Conscious Repository
One of These Things ≠ The Other
On Creating Order in Different Forms
Why is order that emerges preferable to order that is imposed?
I’m thinking about this this idea after having heard it in various forms over the last few weeks. Most recently and perhaps most simply in the form of this meme:
Both of these pictures could be said to be ‘orderly’ in one form or another, but my natural tendency is to prefer the instantiation on the left than the right. I couldn’t tell you why though in fidelity. Maybe you think the opposite? In either case, my goal in this blurb is just to feed your brain with the question, some context and a riff on the concept. Enjoy ~
Planning and Democracy
I’m currently reading Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and in chapter 5, he writes about the secondary effects of planning and democracy in a society. Both work towards the same end:
“The ‘social goal’ or ‘common purpose’ for which society is to be organized, is usually vaguely described as the ‘common good’, or the ‘general welfare’, or the ‘general interest’.”
…with the problem being that the above terms aren’t objective and therefore arises the social conflict that we experience by working towards what might be most broadly defined as the common good, or order.
The belief in an absolute moral order leads to it’s imposition in a society. Moral order is a benefit to society though, so how can we reconcile this need with it’s implementation? Hayek answers:
The state should confine itself to establishing rules applying to general types of situations and should allow the individuals freedom in everything which depends on the circumstances of time and place, because only the individuals concerned in each instance can fully know these circumstances and adapt their actions to them.
Order is not defined by it’s results. It’s a definition that is emergent from a process. A thing is said to be ordered. You can bring order to a system but you cannot embody order with any semblance of consistency to great success, it has to be allowed to emerge. Order that is imposed and left to remain in a set state declines because once it’s ‘ordered’ in the context of one point in time, it ceases to meet the definition of order when placed in the context of a future point in time.
This is how imposed order becomes chaos. Once something stops becoming, it regresses. In business, I’ve heard it put more generally that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward.
Imposed Order → Chaos
Take the opposite. How does emergent order come to be? Chaos exists and then eventually as randomness continues on an infinite trajectory, inevitably, patterns begin to emerge. These patterns emerging represent the generativity of proper order. Once you pick the leaves to place them in a row, they begin to die off. If they are allowed to grow independent from interference, then they will emerge in a naturally occurring ordered beauty.
Chaos → Emergent Order
Why did I mention Hayek’s sociological commentary above? Because we’ve reached a political state of increasingly imposed order, and from it, chaos is starting to emerge. How can this trend be reversed? Maybe this chaos need to run it’s course, and from it, patterns of successful moral behavior will begin to emerge that the wise among us can embody.
We see this pattern over and over again in history, maybe it’s why we’ve never seen an immortal human society. The mimetic desire for order reaches a tipping point where it decides upon a definition rather than chooses to remain a process at work.
Once we recognize this pattern as true, we can begin to build on rock instead of sand.
Next week, I’m going to talk about what AI might do to entertainment.
Trust the process.