Advances

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.
—Alfred North Whitehead

I’ve been thinking about this quote.

The corollary of these civilization advances leads to inertia, or path dependency.

I.e., performing important operations without thinking of them.

The other risk is these operations become so unconscious, we forget why we do them, or why they’re important.

Or an operational structure develops from these iterative performances, and if one process is forced to change, the entire system undergoes a shock due to the systemic dependencies.

Though, I suppose this happens on any scale.

And I suppose these these operations can include adaptive mechanisms as well, so it’s not like we’re just mindlessly performing extended operations.

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