Fixed vs. Flux.

Our modern environment is a mixture of nature and artifice. Nature is in a state of flux, there has never been a fixed Garden of Eden, which is pertinent to discussions on the health of our shared, global environment. Only our artifice is mostly stable, but chaos would overwhelm our society if not for the constant maintenance of our various edifices. It is worth mentioning how a growing proportion of our societal energy is spent to maintain, which creates a certain tension as late capitalist society focuses much more on innovation. This is the same dynamic as the environment, simply reversed, as some members of the Green movement seek to maintain nature (due to an assumed responsibility) and prevent it from its chaotic natural progression.

To clarify the above statement, consider how concrete construction, let it be a massive retaining wall, that requires some precise calculations as would be performed by an engineer. This concrete engineer, to become qualified, must perform original research, a thesis. Now know that ancient Romans created and used excellent concrete 2,000 years ago. So there is a professional criteria of creativity, in a domain where consistency is far more important and novel concrete mixtures would consistently perform poorly relative to tried & tested methods. This pattern, of a project requiring a qualification which requires original research, repeats itself globally & often. As though each new concrete engineer is to break new ground, where great value could be found in maintaining the old turf. A similar patter, although with an additional category, is found in the medical industry where a doctor must develop the field of knowledge in some small way or else be unable to run a clinic, regardless of whether the clinic ever sees strange or new disease.

This friction, between a static and a changing state of affairs, whether maintaining our health or our buildings, diminishes society. There has got to be a better way. Within the international domain this dynamic pits community against community. Any newly discovered method of concreting or medicine, as a fundamentally required for professional qualification, will be within the ‘1st World’. If it is profitable, than the wealth created will be within the specific community of the developed world (although less tangible wealth, such as a longer life, will of course be shared.). So under-developed regions, which may be so due to historical contingency, such as the DRC, or perhaps due to a failed national project, such as if micro-processors in Taiwan & Korea became obsolete due to something new, these regions are consistently disadvantaged by the structure of the system. Beginning at a lower level of competition, they cannot afford high quality education & research, and so only buy the new shit from superior competitors, which in turn enriches competition and somewhat impoverishes the nation.

This same stumbling block, the dynamic of static against dynamic, impedes development of some environmental agendas. Sustaining the current balance of species; their approximate number, range of habit, geographic dispersion, diet, and so on, requires greater costs; pollution control & other waste management, restrictions on human activity such as new townships in virgin jungle, and, ultimately, demands civilisation devote not-insignificant resources to reversing the effects of civilisation.


One thought on “Fixed vs. Flux.

  1. The amazing tension between opposing virtues is everywhere. Of course there are downsides to this tension. But, as you know, when systems are more static it lends itself to more stability. Dynamic systems do produce growth and innovation but are also less stable.
    All of my values that drive my goals are written as two parts. The stability part and the growth part. I think both are essential. We just need to be aware of the pitfalls of each.

    Liked by 1 person

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